Letting people use your land to grow crops

casadiforesta Image
02/05/2010 - 10:48


  I am in the process of letting a neighbour grow crops on my land to keep it fertile, I do not pay him and he does not pay me as there is no monetary gain for either parties. I am quite happy with this arrangement but does he have any legal rights over my land now or in the future.  Would I be better off making him sign sort of legal document so that he would be unable to exercise any rights over my land in the future.   

 We do a similar thing. It obviously depends on your neighbour (and I have no idea of the legal implications) but we are continually taken to task for not taking enough produce. A handshake may not count for much in a court of law, but sometimes life is too short.

  Agree about life being too short, but the legal position is that if you allow him to work your land for a certain number of years (and I've heard everything from 6-15) then he has acquired rights over it.  It's one of those things where you don't want to insult him by suggesting he needs to sign something, set against peace of mind (which I recognise I have now disturbed - sorry!) I'm in the proccess of having to fence off a bit of a field because my neighbour constantly allows his contractor to cultivate it and noone involved will sign anything.  I'm actually quite happy for the cultivation to continue, since it saves me having to keep the land clean.  But the neighbour concerned is notorious locally for being "un vecchio volpe" and I've had enough of everyone throwing up their hands and saying I must do something about it

It depends - whether your neighbour is a coltivatore diretto or not.  However, in the nicest possible way its better to be secure.  Ask him to sign a yearly contract, with a scadenza after the harvest - november to november is good - for a peppercorn rent - 1 euro.  It can then be renewed every year over a glass of wine and everyones happy.  He may be lovely, but his heirs may not be .... 

  I'd be interested in knowing how to go about this peppercorn rent, it makes sense (as you say it's the heirs that MAY be the problem)............better safe than sorry,   S

A simple carta privata would do the trick - there should be a monetary exchange to make it completely legal, even if you were to take half the produce etc.  So it would be a type of Io, name - residence, date of birth and all the usual guff, do in affitto il terreno (catastal stuff) a  (his data) per (the period) per un affitto annuale di (amount)  Dated signed by all and sundry and photocopied... 

In reply to by Ram

 Good man Ram........... I suppose it's a bit like the ''write your own will'' stuff, down on paper, handwritten etc etc...........Not heard the technical phrase 'all the usual guff' for a while ! Bravo ! Cheers, S

We have a lot of land surrounding my house in Umbria. There was no way we could cultivate it so, after asking around, found a family who was more than happy to add it to their collection of plots which they cultivate in various parts of the locality. We went to the Confagricoltori office in Todi, I became a coltivatrice diretta for a day and they drew up a regular contract between myself and my prospective tenants. This is a 5-year contract, renewable if we want, which protects us from our tenants or their heirs claiming the land is theirs, and the tenants from us asking for the land back after they have done the back-breaking work of claiming the land. This seemed to be their major concern! They pay us an annual rent which the Confagricoltori deemed reasonable and which pays for a pizza for 6 at the local pizzeria once a year. In fact, it is not the rent which is of interest to us but the clean land surrounding the house. The year before we did this, the land was a waste land and we were overrun with snakes and I HATE snakes. We haven’t had a snake in three years. Actually, we get more than the nominal rent because, every time we turn up, the daughter of the house appears as if by magic laden with goodies – at Christmas it was a leg of lamb, 15 eggs and some vegetables!

Coming late to this (and have been missing for a long time I know).... The other thing that is of advantage to registered farmers is to have as much land as possible, or at least certain types of land and thresholds to receive EU grant for land farmed.  The actual EU payment is quite small and is always paid late (I know, being a CD), but nontheless not to be sniffed at.  So it is also worth checking if person using or wishing to use your land is also going to add it to their declaration of land worked.  If they are then it is worth reaching an agreement for more than the notional 1 Euro?   Phil