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Agricultural

tenant, act, landlord, compensation, notice, holdings, tenancy, arbitration and improvements

AGRICULTURAL HOLDINGS.—For England, the Agricultural Holdings Act 1908 consolidates the now repealed Agricultural Holdings Act, 1883, the Tenants' Compensation Act, 1895 (partially repealed), the Market Gardeners' Compensation Act, 1897, and the Agricultural Holdings Acts, 1900 and 1906. Here, and in the article AGRICULTURE in the Ap pendix, we will notice, from the point of view of the English tenant, only a few of the more important provisions of the law. The Amt applies to agricultural and pastoral holdings, to market-gardens, and to holdings let to tenants in connection with any employment. Their principal pro visions come conveniently under six heads : (a) Compensation for improve ments, (b) fixtures, (c) distress, (d) notice to terminate yearly tenancy, (e) resumption of holding by landlord for the purpose of carrying out improvements, ( ) arbitration. (a) At common law an outgoing tenant has no claim against his landlord for compensation for improvements, except under local custom. But it is now provided that a tenant on quitting an agricultural holding shall be entitled to compensation for certain im provements made at his own expense during his tenancy. The Act does not prejudice the rights of a tenant to compensation under custom, agree ment, or otherwise, in lieu of the statutory compensation.

The Act distinguishes three classes of improvements. The first class includes, among other things, the erection, alteration, or enlargement of buildings, formation of silos, laying down permanent pasture, making gardens, making or improving roaas or bridges, planting hops, orchards and fruit-trees, the reclaiming of waste land. Compensation cannot be claimed unless the landlord has given his consent to the improvement. As regards the second class, which is confined to drainage, previous notice must be given to the landlord, who has the option of executing the im provement at his own cost, charging the tenant 5 per cent. interest. The improvements comprised in the third class include : Boning, chalking, liming, the application of artificial manure, laying down temporary pasture, planting vegetable crops which are productive for two or more years, and the erection and enlargement of buildings for the purpose of the trade of a market-gardener. They may be executed without the landlord's consent and without notice to him. The sum payable for compensation is, subject to the principles we have already referred to, the equivalent of the value of the improvements to an incoming tenant. Any contract made by a tenant, by virtue of which he is deprived of his rights to compensation, is void. (b) At common law, fixtures on agricultural holdings would belong to the landlord. The Acts now provide, however, that engines, machines, fences, or buildings, and, in market-gardens, any fixtures and buildings erected for the business of market-gardening, all of which the tenant has affixed or erected without obliged so to do, may be removed by an outgoing tenant. But previous notice of intended removal must be given to the

landlord, who may elect to purchase them at a price representing their fair value to an incoming tenant. A market-gardener may also remove, before the termination of his tenancy, all fruit trees and fruit bushes planted by himself and not permanently set out. When the tenant occupies the land under a contract of tenancy with a landlord who has mortgaged the land, and the mortgagee has taken possession, the tenant is still entitled to compensation though there is no contract binding upon the mortgagee.

(a) In ordinary cases, in England, the landlord may distrain for six years' arrears of rent. In the case, however, of holdings coming unda the opera tion of this Act, the right to distrain is now limited to one year's rent. Some partial and total exemptions from distraint are also created by the Act. An example? of partial exemption will be found under AGISTMENT (q.v.). Hired machinery and live-stock belonging to another person, which is on the premises merely for breeding purposes, are not liable to distraint at all. (d) The usual tenancy from year to year can, in England, be terminated at the end of each year by a six-monthly notice. But in the case of a holding under this Act, one year's notice is now required in the absence of any special arrangement. (e) The Act allows a landlord in the case of a tenancy from year to year to give notice to terminate the tenancy, as to part only, if the land be wanted for labourers' cottages, or gardens, for allotments, for the planting of trees, for mines, quarries, or sand-pits, or for making water courses or reservoirs, roads, railways, &c. The tenant may, however, within twenty-eight days after receiving the notice, inform the landlord that he accepts it as a notice to quit the entire holding.

( f ) Arbitration is compulsory in cases where differences arise between landlord and tenant in respect to improvements the subject of these Acts. If there is no agreement that the arbitration shall be under the Arbitration Act, 1889, the arbitration shall be according to the procedure specially pro vided for such cases. This procedure is, in effect, on the same principle as that under the Arbitration Act. The main differences are in the time for the award to be made, in the Board of Agriculture being the authority to nominate the arbitrator in case of non-agreement of the parties, and generally that the County Court holds the same position with regard to these arbitra tions that the High Court does to those under the Arbitration Act.