Under the 'Agreement for Leisure Gardens' between Merton and a tenant (that is, a plot holder) (at least, the recent pro forma used by Merton), a tenant agrees to take on yearly a tenancy at a yearly rent to be determined by the Council from time to time (or substituted rent as may be agreed between the Council and the tenant or by arbitration). The rent is payable yearly in advance subject to certain conditions set out in a schedule.
The Council may at any time, upon giving the tenant not less than nine months' notice in writing, increase or decrease the rental of the 'allotment garden' (as each plot is known) (Condition 4).
The rent, or any substituted rent, shall be paid yearly in advance on 1 October each year. Rates in respect of the allotment garden shall be paid by the Council (Condition 1).
In practice, Merton may specify a due date later than 1 October when it invoices each plot holder. Merton includes an amount in the total rate paid by a tentant that is said to relate to the cost to Merton of water rates. Rates charged, or proposed to be charged, in recent years ended or ending 30 September are set out in the table below. Rates are per 25 sq meters (or 'rod'). Merton offers a concession rate for certain plot holders.
The significant rate of increase between 2011/12 and 2012/13 (about 73%) was explained by Merton, to all the allotments of the council, at the time as follows:
"You may be aware that the Council has a huge budget deficit and the Greenspaces teams, like all others, have to contribute to acheive savings for 2012/13.
Since November 2010 meetings have been held regularly with allotment site representatives to discuss the options for allotment holders. In previous years the Council has subsidised the allotments to the amount of circa £ 40,000 per year. This can no longer be sustained. In order to ensure that this subsidy is covered, the standard charge will therefore have to increase by 80% to maintain service standards for tenants on those sites that have not elected for self management."
* Written notice purportedly given on 11 November 2019.