Voluntary modification of legal rules
All the legal rules about lease termination discussed above may be modified through negotiation and voluntary agreement of the parties. For example, a landowner would like to renegotiate the cash rent after harvest based on rising crop prices. Even though Sept. 1 has passed, the savvy tenant would negotiate with the landowner in order to keep the lease over the long-term. If the tenant relies on the short-term legal advantage (the six-month termination notice requirement) to keep the lease at the lower cash rent, the tenant could end up losing the lease after the next crop year.
Conclusion. A written lease generally is preferable to a verbal lease because it provides a written record of the lease provisions. However, written leases for farmland under Nebraska law are not required to contain advance notice of termination, as is required in Iowa. Because a verbal lease does require six-months advance notice of lease termination, it may provide more legal protection for the tenant than a written lease, at least for one additional crop year.
If you have legal questions regarding a farm lease, contact an attorney.
Author’s Note: The Need for Personal Legal Advice. Farm leases and real estate transactions require a consideration of law and facts unique to each case. The information provided in this newsletter is for educational purposes only: It is NOT a substitute for competent legal advice.