It is important to understand land use restrictions prior to entering negotiations. Existing easements, leases, and local zoning ordinances can all affect your tenant’s ability to use the property.
Attention to zoning is particularly relevant when seeking creative ways to improve and diversify revenue while increasing the operation’s sustainability. Agricultural land uses are often exempt from zoning regulations, however, opening farmland for recreation or direct marketing can present obstacles.
There are also a variety of easements that can have diverse impacts on the farm lease arrangement and decisions regarding sustainable practices. For instance, farmland easements often convey a right of access to a third party. This access typically allows for entry to an adjoining piece of property, but these easements may also be used by utility companies and, as is becoming more common, developers of renewable energy resources. It is important for tenants to understand the rights of such third parties as well as the limitations on the use of the easement.
Agricultural or conservation easements may also be placed on the property. These easements most likely place certain land use restrictions on the property. This, of course, has significant impacts on the tenant’s right of use and possession.