September has come and gone and with it, the passing of Michaelmas Day on 29th September. This is the term date for most arable tenancies, whilst Lady Day on 25th March is often the term date for grass-based livestock tenancies. These dates represent decisions that need to be made by both landlords and tenants. The question behind that decision for both parties is whether you are happy with the rent.

Unhappy relations between landlord and tenant frequently stem from the level of rent being paid. If the right rent is not being paid, then one party will not be happy. This can be remedied by serving notice to review the rent in twelve months’ time.

In my time as a rural surveyor, I have seen the good, the bad and the ugly from both parties, from a landlord insisting on gaining the very last penny of rent but paying professional fees that outweigh any benefit, to a tenant that resisted any rent increase at all costs, despite knowing they were paying far below the market level. Somewhere in the middle, there is a fair deal to be struck, without either side being out of pocket.

Whilst still training, I was told that we are all rural people, all living together in the same community. For this reason, a rent review should take place every three years, in good times and bad. Even if the rent is not altered or a rent review notice is not served, a conversation should still be had. If everyone knows this is what happens every three years, a lot of animosity can be removed. If it is not a regular three-yearly event, then either side can perceive the other to be “cashing in” due to a sudden changing in farming fortune when one year, a notice is served out of the blue.

Like all negotiations, people come first. Understand what drives the other side and enter the negotiation with a rational state of mind; anger and frustration will get you nowhere!

If you feel that this is something you may need to address in the coming year, please pick up the phone to discuss. We can then decide if a notice should be served or a conversation should be had before this coming Lady Day or next Michaelmas.