Right of Entry in Your Farm Lease

Farm leases, they are nothing new.  They are great way for agricultural producers to do what they love without the cost of actually owning the land.  Of course, every farmer would love to own more land, but that cost has risen so significantly over the last few years that it can be cost prohibitive for them to do so.  So most farmers will try to set up equitable leases for both themselves and the land owner.  It is thought that more than 50% of farm leases in Missouri are to be verbal agreements.  While this is not necessarily a bad thing, good practice would like to see leases in the written form.  This allows both parties to have a clear understanding of what expectations are for each as well as what is included/excluded in the leasing agreement.

There are five essential parts to a successful written lease:

  1. Names of all parties involved
  2. Length of time the lease will be in effect
  3. Description of the property that is included/excluded from the lease
  4. Rental rate
  5. Signatures of all parties

These five items are very important when developing a successful lease.  These items will help detour some issues if they were to arise.  But, there is another major part of the lease that should be included, one that this writer feels to be just as important as the other five.  The sixth most important part to have in a successful lease is a “Right of Entry” clause.

The “Right of Entry” clause allows the landowner to enter the property.  If this clause were to be excluded from the leasing agreement, then the tenant legally would have the right to treat any entrant to the property as a trespasser, including the landowner.  Now, this clause can be limited to certain times of the year, such as when the landowner would want to see tillage operations, planting, or harvesting.  It may even be necessary to state in the lease that the landowner has right of entry to make repairs (if that has been negotiated).  This clause isn’t created to cause hard feelings, but it protects both parties in the circumstance that there is some confusion or something happens during the length of the lease and it creates good business practice.

Remember there are five essential elements to a successful lease.  However, there is another essential clause that should be considered when developing your lease: “Right of Entry”.  If there are any questions about developing your successful lease, contact your local MU Extension Office.

Source: Nathanial Cahill, MU Extension Agricultural Business Specialist