Advice on tenancy and co workers

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JoJo1

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Advice on tenancy and co workers
« on: September 26, 2018, 18:05 »
Any advice would be greatly appreciated.  Myself and two friends, all working mums, have taken on our first ever plot.  We took over the plot on a new site and due to council delays all plots were allocated in May 18 on a volunteer basis pending getting tenancy agreements out.  We have just received our tenancy agreement and are now being told that we can only register the tenant and one co-worker and that no other persons would be allowed access to the plot, be it to water or tend the plot.  This means that the three of us (with occasional help form our husbands) have spent the last four month working hard to clear a virgin plot and cultivating our very first crops (carrots, beetroot, onions, pak choi, lettuce, spinach and strawberries so far) to now be told that we cannot keep it together.  That puts us in a difficult position as we have to choose one of us to be forced to leave our plot and leaves the remainder with a far greater work load than they had signed up for (especially as this will also mean our husbands cannot assist). We have always been upfront that we were approaching the plot as a shared venture and attended all meetings together, we are really disappointed to be hearing this at this stage.  Is there anything we can do to alter this maximum one : co worker rule or is this a standard allotment practice?

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mumofstig

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Re: Advice on tenancy and co workers
« Reply #1 on: September 26, 2018, 20:26 »
I think it's standard wording on the contract, to have a named co-worker -  but here, as long as one of the named people are on site, you are allowed friend to help you work on the plot.

Ask if this applies on your site, then you would just need to work out a rota for attendance.
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JoJo1

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Re: Advice on tenancy and co workers
« Reply #2 on: September 26, 2018, 23:23 »
I think it's standard wording on the contract, to have a named co-worker -  but here, as long as one of the named people are on site, you are allowed friend to help you work on the plot.

Ask if this applies on your site, then you would just need to work out a rota for attendance.

Hi Lesley, thank you for the reply.  Obviously the reason we planned to take on the plot as a three was to share the load and frequency of attending the plot.  If we have to always go together is will remove some of the benefits of sharing (for instance I only needed to water every three days during the hot, dry periods for instance as we took it in turns).  The restriction of a tenancy agreement to just one tenant and one co-worker means that it is prohibitive to those who have less time.  If the agreements were more flexible with the volume of co-workers or volunteers it would allow for people to take on a shared plot. Sadly it is increasingly looking like will not be able to keep our plot  :(

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snowdrops

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Re: Advice on tenancy and co workers
« Reply #3 on: September 27, 2018, 07:23 »
I really hope you dont have to give the plot up, can the 3 of you go & discuss it with the tenancy makers & explain how it is going to affect you?
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Gardener and Rabbit

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Re: Advice on tenancy and co workers
« Reply #4 on: September 27, 2018, 08:19 »
Could a solution be to split the plot, so you each take on a one-third sub-plot, with your respective husbands named as the co-worker for that sub-plot. Then all 6 of you are named, the standard doc doesn't need to be changed, and you just give each other some neighbourly help with jobs like watering etc.

If the council aren't being helpful, perhaps you could enlist the help of your local councillor(s).




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New shoot

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Re: Advice on tenancy and co workers
« Reply #5 on: September 27, 2018, 08:42 »
Its just a thought, but if the 3 of you have been working on your plot for several months and no- one has said anything, why would it change?  I can see why the council would put a clause in there like that just to cover themselves, but do they really police it  :unsure:  In theory you are breaking the rules, but would the council go out of their way to cause you grief over it if they are getting their rent and the plot is productive?

People pretty much do as they please on our site.  Some share and some have friends and family to help.  Unless the plot is officially split, only 1 of them is the tenant, but they work the rest out between themselves and no-one says a thing.

The allotment officer at the council does do periodic inspections, issues weedy notices and the like, but vetting people as to whether they are the allotment holder, a friend or just a visitor - nope.  We are lucky to see him once a year tbh. 

The danger with asking too many questions of the council is that you get some jobsworth who follows the rules to the letter and makes an issue of it.  If your council are anything like ours, they are pretty inefficient at most things and won't even notice  ;)  Decide among yourselves who is the official tenant for the council paperwork, stress not and garden on  :)

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jaydig

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Re: Advice on tenancy and co workers
« Reply #6 on: September 27, 2018, 09:48 »
I agree with New Shoot.  Our council allotment officer has been told not to visit the sites as she no longer has time to do so. I think the only thing that they are concerned about is people who don't garden their plots properly and allow their weeds etc. to become a nuisance to other plot holders.  I would carry on as you have been, and I'm sure you won't have any problems. Your plot neighbours will be grateful to be next door to people who tend their plot and make it productive.

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Aunt Sally

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Re: Advice on tenancy and co workers
« Reply #7 on: September 27, 2018, 10:32 »
You've had some good advice here. 

I would say just carry on the way that you have been doing, but if you are worried contact the council and discuss it with them.  I don't think they will be unreasonable.
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Re: Advice on tenancy and co workers
« Reply #8 on: September 27, 2018, 14:05 »
You've had some good advice here. 

I would say just carry on the way that you have been doing, but if you are worried contact the council and discuss it with them.  I don't think they will be unreasonable.

Exactly! I think you have worked out a very good system that suits you all and has resulted in a productive plot that would not warrant any concerns from the council, so carry on enjoying your growing space and the benefits  :D :D :D :D
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snowdrops

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Re: Advice on tenancy and co workers
« Reply #9 on: September 27, 2018, 17:50 »
I think Newshoot has the right answer to be honest & if I was in your situation thats what I would do. Much better to stay friends even if you do get kicked off but Im sure that wont happen. Im sure all the other plot holders will be breaking such a ridiculous ruling probably made be someone who has never had an allotment

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JoJo1

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Re: Advice on tenancy and co workers
« Reply #10 on: September 28, 2018, 10:07 »
Hi Everyone,  thank you all for your advice. We did think about continuing regardless of the tenancy agreement but we were a little concerned that we would in reality be in breach of our contract (and not covered by the Public Liability Insurance) and they could therefore terminate our lease.  I think by querying it straight away weve already stuck our heads up and drawn attention to it. 

We have written to the council and cited that as this was not raised sooner we are now in a position of unfair loss and also suggested that the practice of restricting to one tenant and one co-worker restricts access, and therefore discriminates against those with less time who could take on the plot as a shared venture.  They have responded to say they are looking into it, at least its not a straight No as weve had so far, so fingers crossed.  Thank you all again.

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New shoot

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Re: Advice on tenancy and co workers
« Reply #11 on: September 28, 2018, 10:50 »
OK so the council know you want a 3 way share and it looks like their public liability insurance is the main reason they have this restriction on tenants and co-workers. 

You may never hear any more about it.  I'm going by the experiences I have had trying to sort out allotment stuff with our council, in which case this would be fairly likely.  They would file it in the 'too difficult box' and forget it unless you chase them up repeatedly.

Somewhere along the line you have to accept that their rules are their rules and nominate a tenant and a co-worker.  They aren't going to re-negotiate their insurance for you and your friends and will want to know they have covered their backsides in this respect.  This doesn't mean you can't share, but you have to be aware of the insurance issues.  I would be of the mind that if you can prove negligence of their part, you could sue anyway in the very unlikely event any of you comes to any major disaster.  Allotments are a public space and you could have been a visitor coming to see a friend's allotment at their invitation.

You could also try the split the plot up 3 ways route, if the council are OK with this.  Ours seem happy to split plots, so this may be a way out  for you and the council, as it means they don't have to deal with a tricky enquiry and you get what you want.

The message is 'don't give up'.  There will be a solution, you just might have to be creative.  They aren't going to kick you off unless you annoy anyone else, don't pay your rent and or don't keep the plot tidy.  The rest is officialdom and there is always a way round that  ;)  :)



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mjg000

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Re: Advice on tenancy and co workers
« Reply #12 on: September 28, 2018, 17:00 »
The message is 'don't give up'.  There will be a solution, you just might have to be creative.  They aren't going to kick you off unless you annoy anyone else, don't pay your rent and or don't keep the plot tidy.  The rest is officialdom and there is always a way round that  ;)  :)

Absolutely agree with New Shoots thoughts on this.  Many, many people start out their allotment lives by sharing the work with someone who is no longer able to cultivate their whole plot alone. 

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Aidy

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Re: Advice on tenancy and co workers
« Reply #13 on: September 28, 2018, 18:40 »
A slighty different thought

We are self managed, basicly the council still own the sites but 6 sites in Blackpool are run/managed by two trustees (soon to be 3) under the banner of Blackpool Federation, our tenancy is the tennant/ tennants. We are allowed two helper only and this is for insurance. If lets say I go on hols I have to inform the office that my helpers will be on site on their own, if they come on with me I dont need to notify.
I suspect the council in your area are saying what they are because you should have third party insurance and that may specify who and how many can be on site, of course this doesnt cover why they allowed you all on in the first place!
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Yorkie

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Re: Advice on tenancy and co workers
« Reply #14 on: September 29, 2018, 10:38 »
I agree with what's been written already.  I would just add that it's normal to only have 2 people on the tenancy itself: the lead tenant and a co-tenant.
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