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Desperately need advice re: farm business tenancy :(

(6 Posts)
MamaAlly Fri 13-Mar-09 09:41:00

I hope I've posted this in the right place. I'm a regular reader of mumsnet and come here to look for help and advice on practically everything but never had the nerve to post anything before blush

I'm at my wits end and really hope that someone here will be able to offer some help or advice.

We have a farm business tenancy that we've had for 6 yrs, the tenancy agreement is for 10 yrs and we have a 12 month break clause if we wish to leave before the end of the 10 yr term.

Four weeks ago last Monday we noticed an auction sign for the property had been put up on our farm gate, we assumed that the sign had been put on the wrong property by mistake and I rang the auction company to explain this. I was informed by the auction company that they had put the sign on the right property and the auction was to be held in 3 weeks time. shock

I was totally horrified and immediately contacted the council (the owners of the farm) to ask for clarification. I got passed from pillar to post and eventually managed to speak to someone in corporate services who confirmed the farm was going up for auction. I asked why we had not been notified of this and that the first thing we knew about it was the erection of the auction sign and was told that a letter had been posted out to us on Friday.

I asked what our position would be regarding our tenancy agreement and was told that our agreement would continue until the end of the 10 yr term and that the farm was to be sold on that understanding.

We kept everything crossed, prayed and hoped that everything would be ok and the day after the auction we contacted the auction company to ask if the property had sold. Bearing in mind we had still not received any notification or any letter in any form or shape from the council 3 weeks after we had been informed a letter had been sent out to us and still haven't.

The auction company informed us that the reserve had not been met and our farm was unsold. We breathed a sigh of relief and thought we would be ok. Sadly, on Wednesday I received a call from the auction company asking to make arrangements for some viewings around our house, farm buildings and land. I've put them off as I'm not sure of my legal rights and whether I do have to allow strangers to roam around my home when I don't want them to.

This is the home of my dh, 5 dc and myself and I really don't want all and sundry wandering round poking about, disturbing our stock. We've got sheep due to lamb soon, geese sitting which are very agreesive when disturbed etc etc and I think this is really really unfair. I just don't know what to do, all this worry is having a terrible effect on us. We, like everyone else are struggling finacially and this added upset is just making things worse. I'm now afraid that we may get told we have to leave or that if someone does buy the farm they will increase the rent to such an extent that we can no longer afford to pay and be forced out that way.

What then happens to my family & stock?? Please, please does any one know what my rights are? am I obliged to allow people just to come round to view and will we lose our home? The council have been less than useless, we've still had nothing from them in writing and no one really sees to know what's going on and I'm getting more and more desperate.

Thank you for reading and I really hope someone can help.

Ally xxx

CMOTDibbler Fri 13-Mar-09 11:00:07

Phone the NFU - they will be able to point you in the direction of the right help. If you are a member, then they have a special legal assistance scheme too

Defra have some info here too

kc3 Fri 13-Mar-09 12:55:15

Hi - How they have treated you is a disgrace. I have very limited knowledge but I don't think you have to allow any viewings unless stated in your original contract and all arrangements would have to be made through the council. The farm can be sold with you as sitting tenants and the new owners have to honour your tenancy - this works in your favour as I feel it's quite off putting for the majority of buyers.

Was it a collective auction by the council or just your property?

cazboldy Fri 13-Mar-09 13:01:08

Oh you poor thing sad

It might not help you at all, but a similar thing happened to a friend of mine, although it was an arable farm , and they were obliged to offer him first refusal to buy the farm....

I would definitely get legal advice, and would probably try to do this through the NFU

also I would go public with this!!!

Its disgraceful!

LooptheLoop Fri 13-Mar-09 13:02:48

What a nightmare. Again very limited knowledge but you can get the legal pack from the auction house (not sure how much it will cost) to check what the council are telling any prospective purchaser about your tenancy.

Put a complaint in writing to the council straight away - in email or via recorded delivery. Their behaviour is disgraceful.

I'd refuse to let any prospective purchasers visit until the council prove their right to this - it will at least make them take notice of you and hopefully start communicating.

Good luck

leya Wed 01-Jul-09 11:51:43

Hi Ally,
I have just come accross your post while looking for simlar advice myself. I have not read all of your post and I also, do not know if your problem has been resolved, but we are member's of a company called
'Tenant Farmer's association' We are having simular problem's as you. Contact tfa, and ask to speak to the cheif exec, George Dunn. Tell him I recommended you, (Zoe in Powys) There is a membership fee, but it's well worth it. Good luck.

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