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AG Lease Law

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“I was told the lease ended when I bought the land.”

“How do you terminate an oral lease?”

“The seller said there wasn’t a lease on the land, but the tenant says they have an oral agreement.”

“When do I need to give the tenant termination notice?”

Unfortunately for some landowners, they get a surprise when they find out what oral lease law in Kansas entails after they find out that the lease did not, in fact, terminate with the sale. Or they terminated the lease, but because the tenant already did fall planting work, the termination won’t be enacted until after the harvest.

For all leases, except written leases signed by the parties that provide otherwise, Kansas law says that notice to terminate farm and pastureland leases must be given:

  • in writing
  • at least 30 days prior to March 1, and
  • must fix March 1 as the termination date of the tenancy.

This means you should put a termination notice in the certified mail to be delivered prior to January 30th for proper notice to be given.

However, there is the caveat of fall planting.

In the event the landowner gave proper termination notice but prior to receiving the notice the tenant tilled, applied, or furnished fertilizers, herbicides, pest control substances, or planted the ground, then the tenant can continue with tillage and planting and keeps the leased land until after harvest or August 1, whichever comes first.

So, keep in mind when considering changes to your farm lease:

  • If the tenant starts field operations for fall-seeded crops first, they are entitled to another year on the land.
  • If the landowner serves termination first, the lease expires on March 1 of the next year.

A few other common points to keep in mind on leases include:

  • A lease is a real estate contract giving the tenant right of possession for a given period of time. As a result of the lease, the tenant gets to make decisions for the property, unless spelled out in a written lease.
  • The lease grants the tenant possession of the land for 1 year in an oral lease from March 1 to March 1. An oral lease cannot be for more than one year unless it is written, even if both parties agree to it.
  • Both the tenant and landowner have responsibility for noxious weed control. The tenant as the primary possessor of the land has first responsibility, but if not controlled, the county noxious weed department has the option to control and charge the landowner.
  • Liability for entry to the property is the responsibility of the tenant because they have possession of the land. The landowner can inspect the property and collect rent, but entry of other parties is the responsibility of the tenant.

Read this publication for Kansas agriculture and pasture lease laws explained in detail: http://bookstore.ksre.k-state.edu/pubs/c668.pdf