People can share land in many ways. Most common is simply allowing someone to use a section of your garden that you don’t use, in return for some of the fruit and vegetables grown there, or in return for looking after the rest of your garden. Here are the current landshare listings.
Bigger sections of unused land can be divided into several allotments. Larger areas of land, outbuildings or stabling can be used for livestock or horses.
Who is landshare for?
- Anyone with spare land that is unused
- Anyone with a spare area of their garden that they would like used or maintained
- Anyone looking for an allotment
- Anyone looking for land for small amounts of livestock (a few hens etc)
- Anyone looking for somewhere to keep their horse
Most of this page is specific to landshare sharing arrangements, but there may occasionally be other aspects you need to consider. These four links below refer generically to any sharing arrangement and we suggest you read them as this may prompt you to consider any more unusual aspect which needs to be agreed.
- Part 1 – Ownership, exit strategy and costs
- Part 2 – Use of the asset
- Part 3 – Fittings, handover and condition reports
- Part 4 – Meetings and disputes
Who pays for what?
Although the costs are usually relatively small, there are several types of expenditure that could be involved such as:
- Providing and maintaining fixed items such as sheds, greenhouses, water butts, composters, fencing, gates, outbuildings, stabling
- Access to the site
- Tools and equipment
- Seeds and seedlings
- Miscellaneous items such as sheeting, netting, cloches, stakes
In general, we suggest that the landowner pays for anything that would remain on his land after the sharing arrangement has ended, or of which he would want to control the look and feel. This is likely to include most fixed items, access to the shared area and water supplies.
In general the tenant will pay for seeds, tools, feed and miscellaneous items. Composters and water butts could be paid for by either party, this needs to be agreed.
Payment or recompense
In return for the use of land, the landowner receives one or more of the following:
- Satisfaction that the land is productively used
- The land is maintained and/or gardened
- Maintenance or gardening of other areas of land
- Food – fruit, vegetables, eggs, meat, milk – usually a percentage, 20-25% is a common level
- Use of horses or ponies for hacking
Defining the site and its condition
Define the site ideally on a map with dimensions from walls and other fixed structures.
Agree the condition of site at the start of the agreement, and how the site will be left at the end of the agreement. For example, the site may be rough lawn and overgrown beds at the start, with a shed to be supplied by the landowner in one corner. At the end of the agreement, the site may simply be the shed with all other ground as grass paths or beds which have been turned over with all plants and fencing removed.
Agree the access to the site precisely on a map with dimensions from walls and other fixed structures. Define if and how a vehicle can access the site, and if and where the access is pedestrian only.
Agree the source of water for the site. The landowner may supply water directly onto the site, or may allow access to a water source elsewhere. If the water source is off the site, how is water brought to the site? Is a hosepipe allowed? Is this permanently connected? Is there any limit on the water supply? Is it metered? Does the tenant have to pay for this?
Is there anywhere that tools can be securely stored? Ideally there should be a lockable shed that can be used for tools.
Agree what is down with any rubbish. Is green waste going to be composted on the site? Or taken to a rubbish tip? Are bonfires allowed? Or does the landowner have a separate rubbish point or composter or bonfire position? Precisely where is this? Is access to this available at all times?
Livestock – veterinary services
If there are livestock on the land, agree and write down what happens if the landowner sees livestock which is ill, distressed, or escaped. This should include contact details (and alternative contact details) and vets phone numbers.
Agree when the site can be used: what days of the week, what times of the days, and what about bank holidays? Times could be sunrise to sunset, mornings only, afternoons only, before 2pm, after 2pm etc. Days could be specific days of the week, weekdays only, weekends only, any day etc. Some people will only be able to garden at weekends, but the landowner may want the garden to themselves at weekends. For livestock, 247 access is usually required.
Who is allowed to use the land?
Agree and write down the names of the people who are allowed to use the land on their own. We suggest that one of these people should always be present if anyone else is there. For example, Joe and his wife Sally can use the site on their own, and one of them must always be there if their children or friends are helping out with the plot.
Agree if children are allowed on the plot, even if with a named person, or if only children over a certain age are allowed. Are dogs allowed? Is smoking allowed? Are barbeques allowed?
Length of agreement
ALWAYS have a written agreement between the landowner and the person using the land. This states when the agreement ends and how it can be terminated before the term of the agreement. The term should be less than a year.
What happens if the land is not maintained properly?
Is the tenant able to maintain the plot adequately through the the period? If they are ill for some length of time, do they have someone who can maintain it for them? Will they be taking extended holidays during the period? The landowner needs to assure themselves that they are not left with an overgrown plot of land.
What can the land be used for?
Write down exactly how the land is used. This could be fruit, vegetables, bedding plants, hens, horses, pigs, goats etc. If livestock are allowed, state the maximum number of each type allowed. If specific breeds are required, this needs to be written down. Fruit and vegetables may be simply defined as agreed, but if the landowner or tenant has specific likes, these can included in the contract.