Let’s pretend you and your family are renting a beautiful farm and living there for years. You grow lots of vegetables each season and start to become successful farmers. You sign a yearly lease, and overall your relationship with your landlord is great because he’s also your best friend and neighbor. After a few more years of success, in a spur-of-the-moment decision, your landlord sells his property to Walmart and decides to move to Florida!
What happens to your crops? Are they yours? Or are they your new potential landlords?
If a tenant loses possession of the land on which the crops grow, he or she is legally entitled to finish raising the crops and harvesting them. That’s right. Legally entitled. These annual crops are called Emblements.
What are Emblements?
Definition: Emblements are annual crops cultivated by a tenant that is treated as the tenant’s personal property. They are considered “personal property.” Not REAL property but personal, meaning they move with the tenant.
The key thing to understand is a tenant farmer has the right to his or her crops even when his or her lease ends before the end of the growing season.
This situation happens in a few different circumstances, like the one we talked about before, or in the foreclosure of mortgages and other legal situations.
It also comes into play if the land passes to someone else because of the tenant’s death, and the crops pass to the tenant’s heirs.
In all of these situations, the law guarantees the farmer’s right to reap and carry away the fruits of his or her labor, even if he or she loses the title to the land on which they are grown.