HMRC internal manual

Inheritance Tax Manual

IHTM24226 - Agricultural Holdings Act 1986: succession to agricultural holdings

Part II Agriculture (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act 1976 introduced provisions enabling a close relative of a deceased tenant to claim succession to his tenancy. Two tenancies by succession can be granted so it is possible for the land to be tenanted by the original tenant’s family for three generations in all.

Succession rights were abolished for all new tenancies granted on or after 12 July 1984. However parties could voluntarily contract into succession after this date under s34(1)(b)(iii) of the 1986 Act.

However, if a tenancy was granted by an agricultural land tribunal under the succession provisions (and this successive tenancy was granted on or after 12 July 1984), the further full two generation succession provided for in the 1986 Act will still take place. A succession tenancy granted in this way will also continue to be an agricultural holding (IHTM24220) even if it is granted after 1 September 1995.

Succession on death

An application for succession can be made within 3 months of death when the tenant dies and is survived by a close relative. Such an application will suspend any notice to quit given by the landlord on the tenant’s death. The applicant must be an ‘eligible person’ - broadly they must have derived their principal source of livelihood for 5 years before the death from their agricultural work on the holding and must not be an occupier of a ‘commercial unit of agricultural land.’

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Succession on retirement

The AHA 1984 introduced provisions (now contained at AHA1986/S49 -58) enabling an existing farm tenant to retire and nominate a qualifying successor to take over his holding. The conditions are similar to those applicable on succession on death.