The general law of landlord and tenant as set out in Part I of this book applies as much to agricultural tenancies as it does to the tenancies discussed in the previous four chapters. However, the nature of agricultural activities means that there has had to be some response to the particular problems arising from animal husbandry and crop growth. Crops planted by one tenant may not ripen until after he has moved on, but might not ripen at all if there has been bad weather; either way, the incoming tenant will have no choice but to put up with the crops which are in the ground, since it will almost certainly be too late to change them. Again, the configuration and productivity of a particular piece of land will be the result of many years of work involving planning, planting, draining and manuring — to name but four activities. For many centuries these pressures were reflected in a mass of customary practices which certainly varied from county to county and sometimes varied within counties. Custom and common law had their limitations, however, in that initially they could not compensate the outgoing tenant for any improvements, nor did they allow him to remove any fixtures he might have installed. From the second half of the nineteenth century onwards, therefore, legislation began to intervene, initially to encourage compensation for the outgoing tenant, but then to control length of notice, and finally to regulate the landlord’s freedom to give notice.
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