When And How The Council May Close Our Tenancy Of Our Plot

We’re all required to comply with the terms of our legally-binding tenancy agreements, as detailed in the terms of tenancy.

There’re many ways in which these may be broken, e.g. by using the plot for the wrong purpose, such as the growing of Christmas trees rather than food. However, by far the most common problem is that of non-cultivation, that is, of general neglect, and of the plot’s becoming overgrown with weeds etc., and so we detail here what will happen when one of us fails to maintain their plot for its proper purpose in that way.

PPAA Committee, as required by the Local Management Agreement, regularly undertake site inspections, and, in particular, they look out for neglected plots. If a plot should give cause for concern, then a Pre-Notice Letter Of Concern will be sent by them, which will draw the attention of the tenant to the problem, but which will also ask whether there might be any difficulty, over which the Committee could assist. Photographic evidence will be taken, and a copy sent to the Council’s Allotments Officer. For the avoidance of doubt, the Tenancy Agreement doesn’t create private property rights, and so no privacy law is broken by either inspections or photographs being taken by the Council or by its delegates such as PPAA Committee.

If, after fourteen days there’s been no change, then a Non-cultivation Order – formerly known as a “Clean or Quit”  – will be sent by the Committee to the tenant, who then has twenty-eight days to remedy the position. Photographic evidence will again be taken, and a copy sent to the Council.

To meet the terms of the Order, the Council require at least a third of the plot to be cultivated, along with the boundaries and edgings of the plot being made weed-free. The easiest way to ensure this – where, as in most cases, the plot adjoins a track as shown grey on the site plan – is to make sure that the concrete edging or kerb stones are exposed, besides the path edgings being recut.

If, after twenty-eight days, the position hasn’t materially improved, then further photographic evidence will be sent by the Committee to the Council, and the Council’s Allotments Officer will issue a Termination Of Tenancy Notice. It’s important to note that at this stage, matters now become entirely between the tenant and the Council, and not the PPAA Committee.

The tenant may appeal against this decision, provided that they do so within fourteen days.

If the tenant doesn’t appeal, or if the appeal is unsuccessful, then they have an additional fourteen days from the date of termination – which may vary according to the time taken for the appeal to be considered – to remove their property from the site. All such material must be removed, or the ex-tenant will likely be charged for the costs of its removal.

After this time, the plot is taken to be fully vacated, and accordingly the Council’s Allotments Officer will add it to the Vacant Plots List for re-letting.

The legislative framework for managing allotments means that some processes, particularly the enforcement of cultivation rules and termination of tenancies, can be lengthy and drawn out. So to avoid this, the PPAA encourage plot-holders to get in touch if they should have an issue with managing their plot, or would like to downsize it, or wish to end their tenancy.

Importantly, if a tenant should decide to end their tenancy voluntarily, then they may apply to rejoin the waiting list at a later date. There’s a form for this purpose available here.

If, on the other hand, a tenant should have their tenancy terminated by the Council, then they’ll no longer be  able to apply to rejoin any of the Cardiff waiting lists.

This process is described graphically in the chart below:-

Process Chart

StageFormal TermInformal TermWho does this?Timescale
Stage 0Pre-notice letter – Letter Of ConcernConcernSite Rep or other PPAA CommitteeDay 1 – 14
Stage 1Non-Cultivation OrderClean Or QuitSite Rep or other PPAA Committee28 days
Stage 2Termination Of Tenancy NoticeTerminationCouncil Allotments Officer28 days after Non-Cultivation Order
Stage 1A
AppealPlot holder – if applicableWithin 14 days of Termination Of Tenancy Notice
Stage 3Collection/Storage Of PropertyCollection of propertySite Rep or other PPAA Committee to overseeUp to 14 days after Termination
Stage 4Plot added to Vacant Plots ListVacant plots listCouncil Allotments OfficerBeyond 14 days after Termination