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Tied Housing

If you build bird boxes you get birds. If you build affordable housing you get least that's the hope.

Sparrow bird box on my house
Sparrow bird box on my house

If you go back In time tied housing was more common. Indeed, the offering of housing was a tool to attract the right workers. In the 1960's and 1970's gas workers, school teachers and electricians could have promises of council housing to attract them. In addition everyone over 50 will recall the many firefighters and police houses that were to be found in the Spalding area. Indeed, it does not take much research to work out that despite being a small population we had far more policemen then than today just based on the occupied police houses of that era, plus the known landlords for single policemen. There was also the nurses homes adjacent to the hospital.

It was not just tied housing. Many local family owned firms enabled their workers to have affordable housing by buying houses and renting to them, without any tie, but often at a below market rent. In return they had a loyal work force. It was responsible and good business.

In agriculture tied housing was also more common. My grandfather lived in a tied house. When Spinney Farm and its houses were sold by Cecil Smith the purchaser, Mr Stevenson visited him the next day, " Now then Frank, we went to school together. You don't need to worry Ill make sure you can stay here." Thus he stayed

there even after becoming a pensioner, but continued to feed the cattle that were kept at the farm.

Tied housing in agriculture started to die out as the number of workers in the industry reduced. As housing became free it was often sold off. Plus more and more people wished to own their own home as we entered the 1980's.

However, difficulty in attracting employees has seen a resurgence in the use of tied housing. But agricultural workers benefiting from such a tied property do enjoy some protections.

If an agricultural worker gets a self-contained home as part of their job they may enjoy an ‘assured agricultural occupancy’. An assured agricultural occupancy starts when the worker has been employed in agriculture (by any employer) for 91 weeks of the last 104, including paid holiday and sick leave, and:

the tenant works 35 hours or more a week

the accommodation is owned by the farmer, or arranged by them

The tenant must be a serving farm worker or a:

farm manager or family worker

retired farm worker

farm worker forced to give up work

former farm worker who has taken other employment

deceased farm worker’s widow, widower or family member of a worker and were living with the worker when they died

They have to have been working for the farmer who provides or arranges the accommodation.

Rent can only be increased annually or by the tenants agreement. If the worker loses their job or retires, they can stay in the accommodation. The farmer can ask them to start paying rent - or a higher rent than before. If the farmer and worker cannot agree on a rent, they can go to a rent assessment committee.

The farmer may want the property back for a new worker, or to end the tenancy because the worker is:

not paying the rent

breaking terms of the tenancy agreement

damaging the property or its contents

being a nuisance to neighbours

If the worker does not leave willingly, the farmer will have to go to court, and the court will decide whether the worker has to go. If the worker is still a serving farm worker, the farmer may have to provide alternative accommodation.

If a tenant dies the tenancy will automatically pass to their husband or wife. If they did not have a husband or wife, it can pass to another family member if they lived there for the 2 years before the worker’s death. Unmarried partners without children living with them can be vulnerable in these circumstances.

Whilst an old solution tied housing can help provide a solution for farms seeking employees and country residents seeking housing. But it only works provided the farming business can accept the cost.

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