Verbal termination of an agricultural land lease


Lincoln, Neb. –Some farm leases are unwritten but are verbal agreements or “handshakes”. Because nothing is written, the parties may have different memories of their agreement, making rental disputes more difficult to resolve.

The most common legal problem associated with verbal farm leases is how a lease can be legally terminated. For both year-round and maintenance leases, six months’ notice must be given to legally terminate the lease. However, the date of the lease (the date from which the six months are counted) may be different. In contrast, the termination of a written lease is determined by the terms of the written lease.

Verbal termination of leases

For oral year-round leases, the Nebraska Supreme Court has ruled that the lease year begins on March 1. “) must be given six months before the end of the lease, or by September 1 at the latest. This rule applies regardless of the crop planted. Those with winter wheat should consider giving notice before that. it is not time to prepare the wheat soil for planting.

For example, for the rental year beginning March 1, 2020 and ending February 28, 2021, notice from the landlord that the lease will be terminated will need to be given to (and received by) the tenant no later than September 1. , 2020. The lease would then expire on February 28, 2021, the new tenant (or new buyer) being able to take over the lease on March 1, 2021. If, however, the notice of departure was given (or received) after seven As of January 1, 2020 , the current tenant would have the lease until February 28, 2022.

It is recommended to terminate the lease of agricultural land by registered mail ™. This means that the person who receives the letter signs for them, providing proof that the termination notice has been received.

Termination of pasture leases

Handshake or verbal leases are different for pastures. The typical grazing lease is for the five month grazing season. The lease is only in effect for this period, therefore the lease is terminated at the end of the grazing season; however, different lease terms may be made in a written lease, and they would be followed if they were in effect.

Importance of good communication

Whatever the type of lease (written, verbal or even multi-year), the landlord must have clear communication with the tenant. By sending a termination notice before September 1, even for written leases, you can avoid any misunderstandings or pitfalls.

Written leases

In all cases, written leases would be preferable to oral leases or “handshakes”. Sample leases are available in the document library at and can help both parties begin to think about lease terms that are appropriate for their situation. The site was developed by university extension specialists from the Center-North region.

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