View Full Version : Landlord and Ag Exemption

Apr. 11, 2011, 02:30 PM
I lease a small farm for me and my 3 horses. The landlord let me make upgrades. I have a 4 acre field with run in and i fenced 2 more small paddocks. I paid for it all. I have been there 5 months and now my landlord and the owner of the property next to mine have decided to take down part of the fence between my big field and the one next door. That one doesn't have any fences and they own 4 large dogs that scare my horses.
I put the fence back up 2 times and got home yesterday and it was down again. My landlord said the place was too expensive with out the ag exemption on taxes and the guy from ag said they had to have the fields open to each other to get the exemption.
My landlord hung up on me when I called to say that I needed the fence up. She knows i don't let my horses wander like the neighbors near me who don't use fences at all.
What can I do to keep my fence up? Does my landlord have the right to take it down now even if she knows i rented the place as a horse property? No other renters have ever used it as a horse place so they didn't care about the fences.

Apr. 11, 2011, 02:39 PM
Check your ag laws for your state. Would a gate serve as "open"? Are you in open range country? So, horses and cattle roam freely? What did your rental agreement spell out? Too little information to help you, really.

Apr. 11, 2011, 02:55 PM
Does it have to be completely open, or would a gate do? Could you put up a gate with no-climb attached?

Apr. 11, 2011, 05:33 PM
It varies so from state to state, here in KY you get an automatic exemption at 10 acres but it is far different in other places.
Can you speak to "the guy from ag" yourself and find out what is going on?

Apr. 11, 2011, 05:35 PM
There was a gate that was overgrown with weeds so I didn't even know it was there but the landlord on that side of me has taken it down twice.
We are in a very suburban neighborhood. My landlord has put my rental for sale as a gentleman's farm close to the city. HAHA. My contract says that they cannot make me leave until my lease is up.
I put in the contract that I would be responsible for all fencing additions and repairs. I even put in that no one was allowed to enter the horse fields without me being present.
There was an opening in the fence on the other side of the pasture before i moved in. I guess it was for the ag exemption too. And I made sure that the contract said that the opening in the fence would be completely closed. Not just a gate.
I think the ag people know what the landlords are trying to do since they keep coming out to inspect the place.
I could probably talk to the guy from ag about it but that would make my landlord really angry.
Right now I've got my pickup truck parked alongside the hole in the fence so my horses can't get out even if they take the fence down again.

The whole thing is ridiculous. The neighbors on both sides have lots of dogs that all run loose and have bitten my dog when I was out riding in my field. They chase my horses too. There is one stallion that has been going after my mare while she's in heat and she's gotten pretty cut up from that too.

I hate this farm.

Apr. 12, 2011, 08:51 AM
He likely has an ag exemption on the property as a whole. They may even have a combined ag exemption across both their properties (I have one like this where we legally have it subdivided into 3 but it has an ag based on the total size). You do not get ag exemptions for recreational horses, you can only get ag exemptions for horses that generate money like breeding. You can have a recreational horse on an ag exempt property if you also have cattle, goats, sheep (or whatever you are using to keep your ag exemption). By clearly delineating the area that you have your horses in and not allowing the animals that are responsible for the ag exemption onto that area, he is effectively removing that acreage from the ag, which potentially could be impacting his overall ag.

The bigger issue is that if he loses the ag on that piece of property it could take him years to get it back. Getting an ag exemption is a very lengthy process. For example, here we have to have livestock on the property for 5 years before they will even give you the ag exemption.

Having said all of that, he should have thought of this before he leased it to you. It is totally reasonable if you are leasing the farm for you to put up fences to keep your horses on and I would have thought it was trespass at minimum for him to be taking them down.

Probably not what you want, but you could very likely break your least and move out with no penalty given how much he is effectively hassling you. Your other option would be to go to a lawyer with your lease and see what he/she says. I don't think you are going to get anywhere with the ag inspector as it sounds like your landlord is breaking the rules anyway and it's not the ag inspector's job to give the guy a break just because he feels sorry for you.

I hope you get some resolution, sounds like a horrid situation.

Apr. 12, 2011, 12:49 PM
I would check the details of the ag exemption. I have never heard it has to be one continuous 10 acre pasture. It is usually 10 contiguous acres total, You can have as many pastures and paddocks as you want as long as the property is deed with at least 10 acres.

I have a 16 acre farm with ag tax exemptions and as long as I don't deed the acreage seperately nobody cares that I have 2 pastures and 5 half acre paddocks. I think your landlord might just be dumb ;-)

Apr. 13, 2011, 01:28 PM
My boyfriend did alot of research on local ag exemption rules and there is no way this property should be exempt. The place hasn't been used for horses in over 5 years and for the last 2 years it was used by a guy who installs swimming pools to run his office. I added most of the fencing and fixed up the shed and stalls.
The only horses using the place even with the gates open are my 3 pasture potatoes and the neighbors old guy that they leash to a stake in the yard so they don't need to fence it. My landlord works in an office and doesn't even own a dog on her property.
I don't know how the ag guy came out and said it was ok.
I started looking for another place to lease. My landlord has the house for sale and people keep coming out to look without letting me know. My 2 big dogs are home while I work so I guess they scared the people. I've come home at least 10 times to find my doors unlocked, once the front door was wide open with only the screen door shut.
I put my rules about all this in the lease adendums. So I'm really pissed off. My lease says anything I put up on the property belongs to my landlord but I'm talking the fences and gates when I leave which will be soon if I find somewhere else.
I didn't think having my own place would be such a pain between cleaning stalls, fixing fences, my job, trying to find time to ride, buying hay and feed and my crappy landlord.
I don't think I'm saving any money not boarding them.