SSA logo: link to Social Security Online home1118. Owner of Land on Which Business is Operated

1118.1 When is an owner also a landlord?

Some facts that indicate an owner is a landlord are:

  1. The owner's right of entry on the land is limited to the right to protect and maintain the property; and

  2. The person occupying the land has:

    1. Right to possession of the land;

    2. Right to use of the land for his or her own purposes;

    3. Right to use and possession for a definite period of time;

    4. Obligation to pay rent;

    5. Right to sublease; and

    6. Control over the running of the business.

An owner of land can enter on it to prevent waste, make repairs, etc. In the case of a farm, an owner may take part in formulating the farm plan and may require the practice of good husbandry. An owner may also furnish supplies and equipment and share in the cost of seed, fertilizer, and other expenses for maintaining the fertility of the land or increasing its yield.

1118.2 Do these activities affect self-employment of the tenant or owner?

Neither the exercise of these rights nor the furnishing of these goods is inconsistent with a landlord-tenant relationship. In this case, the tenant is a self-employed farm operator and the farm owner is a landlord. The landlord's rental income counts for Social Security only if he or she materially participates in the crop production, as explained in §§1221-1232.