Landowners Advised to Have Written Leases
If you’re a landowner you might have a lot of different things happening on your property that could involve several different people. That being said, it would probably be best to have a written agreement so that expectations on both sides are clear to everyone. Tiffany Dowell Lashmet is an agricultural law specialist with Texas A&M Agrilife Extension.
“We really talk to people about having leases in writing and how important that is. I know historically we’re kind of a hand shake industry and I really have tried to work to educate folks on the importance of putting those lease agreements in writing to protect the people on both sides of those.”
Dowell Lashmet says that there are certain things that need to be included in a contract.
“We also talk about things like key terms you need to have in a lease agreement. For example, grazing leases, if you’re a landowner I think having a stocking rate is probably the most important term you can have in a lease. On the tenant side, I think a really important term that gets overlooked is the length of notice that has to be provided before that lease can be terminated because you as a tenant have to find somewhere else to put your cows. We try to work through some of those issues and try to help people avoid problems on the back end.”
Dowell Lashmet says that many different issues can come up on one piece of land
“We have people using the surface of the same land. We might have a grazing tenant. We might have a separate hunting tenant. We might have an oil and gas tenant. We might have a wind tenant if you’re up in our part of the world. So you can have a lot of people interacting with each other, and again I think that’s why it’s so important to have all of those agreements in writing. Make sure everybody understands what their rights are and what the rights of the other people are who might be involved on using that surface of the land.”
Dowell Lashmet advises landowners to protect themselves.
“Make sure your tenants know about each other because the worst thing that you can have happen, especially hunting is always what comes to mind because you’ve got people with firearms out there. You don’t want them chasing off the other guy who has the right to be there and so all the time we have multiple purpose leases on a property and those issues can come up.”