Rural Leasing, Sharefarming and Agistment Agreements

Why engage Sheehan & Co to advise you in relation to a rural lease, sharefarming agreement or agistment agreement?

Whether you are looking to lease or sharefarm rural property or agist livestock on rural property, it is important that you obtain independent and professional legal advice to ensure that the agreement reflects the understanding of the parties.

Checklist of questions you should consider when leasing or sharefarming rural property or agisting livestock on rural property

We ask the following questions at the outset so that all issues that relate to your transaction are properly addressed in the lease, sharefarming or agistment agreement:

  • What land is involved?
  • What is the full and correct real property description and area?
  • What is the duration of the agreement? Starting and finishing dates, options of extension or purchase?
  • What rights of access or occupation (for example, homestead and curtilage areas) are reserved to the Landlord?
  • What is the lease payment for a lease? Timing? (for example, quarterly in advance or in arrears?) Amount? Method of payment and penalty for late payment?
  • What insurances are required to be taken out? For example, which items, who pays and which insurance company? Sharefarmers and Tenants need to carefully consider the types of insurance cover they require in the event of injury, loss of income or damage to or loss of property. For example, public risk liability, personal sickness and accident, workers' compensation, fire and general, seasonal crop insurance and hail insurance.
  • What is the Sharefarmers' and Tenant's obligation in relation to the condition of the land at the end of the agreement?
  • What restrictions are there on land management practices? What practices must be complied with?
  • Who is to pay for improvements, repairs and maintenance, control of declared pest plants and animals, rates and taxes and costs of preparing the agreement?
  • Is the property State leasehold land? Is Minister's consent for the sub-lease being sought? Where the land to be leased is State leasehold land, for example, a grazing homestead perpetual lease, a sub-lease must be negotiated and the sub-tenant is bound by the conditions of the leasehold lease. Minister's consent must be obtained for the sub-lease.
  • Has a Conduct and Compensation Agreement been entered under the Petroleum and Gas (Production and Safety) Act 2004 (Qld) into in respect of the land?
  • Is the lease or sub-lease to be registered in the Titles Office Registry? Leases over freehold land in excess of 3 years or containing options for extensions should be registered on title to protect the interests of the Tenant.   

Sharefarming agreements

  • What is the division of income and the grazing rights for stubbles?
  • What does the landowner supply and what is the landowner's responsibility for costs? What does the Sharefarmer or Tenant supply? What costs do they cover and what are their respective duties and responsibilities?
  • Will the Tenant's plant, machinery and equipment be kept on the landowner's property? In certain circumstances, it will be necessary for Sharefarmers who keep equipment on a landowner's property to register their ownership of that equipment on the Personal Property Securities Register in order to avoid losing title to the equipment if the landowner becomes insolvent, enters into liquidation or unlawfully sells the equipment to another party.

Agistment agreements

  • What agistment fees are payable by the agister to the landowner? How are the agistment fees to be calculated? For example, are fees payable on a per head basis? Does one head comprise a cow and calf at foot unit? Are agistment fees payable in advance or in arrears?
  • What is the maximum number of livestock which can be agisted on the landowner's property?
  • Are the stocking rates to be adjusted according to seasonal conditions?
  • Who is responsible for maintaining the stock watering facilities? Are any warranties given by the landowner in relation to those facilities?
  • Who is responsible for the care and maintenance of the livestock? Does the landowner have any responsibility to contact a veterinarian if any livestock suffers an injury or displays symptoms requiring attention?
  • Does the landowner have the right to exercise a lien over any of the agister's livestock to satisfy the payment of any outstanding agistment fees?
  • When are the agister's livestock required to be removed from the landowner's property?
  • Does the proposed agistment agreement contain a clause to the effect that the agister can register a security interest in respect of the agister's livestock being agisted on someone else's property in the Personal Property Securities Register? It is important for stock owners to have particular wording in longer term agistment agreements (over 12 months) so that they can register a security interest. The failure to do so may result in the landowner's financier claiming title to the livestock in certain circumstances.

The above is not intended to be an exhaustive list as the issues which will be relevant in relation to each lease, sharefarming or agistment agreement will vary.

Our services in this area are tailored to achieve better outcomes for you

  • Drafting lease and sharefarming agreements based on your specific circumstances including drafting special conditions to protect your interests;

  • Reviewing leases and sharefarming agreements to ensure the commercial elements reflect the original agreement reached between the Landlord and the Tenant, whether verbally or under a Heads of Agreement;

  • Advising clients in relation to the legislative requirements of leases and sharefarming agreements;

  • Undertaking due diligence enquiries/searches to ensure that relevant issues are properly addressed to your satisfaction prior to execution of any proposed lease or sharefarming agreement;

  • Providing advice on breach of lease notices and resolving disputes surrounding rural leases;

  • Recovering unpaid rent, interest and additional costs associated with breaches of lease. Where necessary, we will commence Court action for recovery on your behalf.

Make an appointment 

Our office is centrally located within the Surat Basin and we are pleased to meet with clients in person, via telephone or home visit to discuss your legal needs in this area.


 Remember - it pays to get the right advice!