TIED ACCOMMODATION: An agricultural worker might get offered a self-contained home as part of their job.
This process is also known as an ‘assured agricultural occupancy‘.
But, the employer may give a written notice at the start of the tenancy for an ‘assured short-hold tenancy‘. Note that the rules on agricultural tenancies would then be different.
What if no notice of tied accommodation gets given to the worker? In this case, the assured agricultural occupancy would be automatic.
Assured Agricultural Occupancy
An assured agricultural occupancy begins when a worker is an employee in agriculture for 91 weeks of the last 104 weeks. This term does not have to be for the same employer. Such an agreement would also include farm workers’ sick leave and paid holiday.
To meet the criteria the tenant must also work more than 35 hours a week. The farmer must either own the accommodation or arranged it. This applies for full-time and flexible-time workers.
To qualify for agricultural tenancies, the tenant needs to be currently serving as a farm worker or:
- A manager running a farming business or a retired farm worker.
- A farm worker who becomes disabled and unable to work. This can apply to mental and physical disabilities.
- A former farm worker who has taken other employment in farming.
- A farm worker’s widow, widower, or family member of a worker. They must have been living with the farm worker when they became deceased.
You can also get in touch with the Department for Communities and Local Government (DCLG). They have more information on ‘assured agricultural occupancies’ and ‘assured short-hold tenancies’.
Note: The tenant must be currently employed or previously employed by the farmer providing or arranging the accommodation.
Increasing the Rent
Tied accommodation rent can go up at any time – providing you agree with the increase. If you do not agree, the rent can only increase yearly. The exception would be if the tenancy agreement states a different interval.
Even so, in all cases the farmer must inform their tenant in writing about any rental price increases.
If Employment Ends
What if you retire or lose your job? Agricultural workers’ tenancy rights allow you to stay in the accommodation.
But, the farm owner can ask you to start paying rent – or increase it if you are already paying it. If you and the farmer cannot agree on an amount for the rental it can go to arbitration. A rent assessment committee will try to find a solution.
What if the farmer wants to reclaim the property? In this case they can apply to the courts. Even so, a court may rule that the farmer has to provide you with suitable accommodation.
Note: In some cases you may get re-housing arranged by the local council authority if there is no suitable accommodation.
If the Farmer wants the Property Back
The farmer may want to develop the land or give the residence to a new employee. But, they cannot evict you without a valid reason.
Any eviction comes under the normal landlord and tenant regulations and agreements. Thus, the landlord can terminate the tenancy if the tenant:
- Is not paying the rent on time.
- Breaks the terms of the tenancy agreement.
- Damages the property or the contents of the property.
- Becomes an unacceptable nuisance to the neighbours.
If you and the farmer cannot come to an agreement then it will go to court, as a rule. The courts will decide whether you can get evicted. If you are still working on the farm, the court may decide that the farmer must provide you with alternative accommodation.
What if a Tenant Dies
If the tenant passes away, the agricultural tenancy will pass to a spouse or a family member. But, the family member must have been living with the tenant at the farm for at least 2 years before the death.
ALSO IN THIS SECTION
Agricultural Workers’ Rights: A section with information on the rights of agricultural and farm workers.
Employment Terms and Conditions: New rules for agricultural jobs in England from October 2013.
Farm Job Grades and Categories: See how grading affects the minimum wage and other entitlements.
Agricultural Gangmaster: An individual, agency, or a company that provides workers for farming.
Pay and Overtime: Information in the page lists farm worker pay rates by grade and category.