News Release

Scottish Tenant Farmers Association

27th January 2021




The Tenant Farming Commissioner has just issued guidance for tenants who will be concluding their amnesty agreements after the end of the amnesty period – 12th December 2021. In light of this new guidance the Scottish Tenant Farmers Association is advising all tenant farmers in this position to seek professional advice as a matter of urgency.

In the run up to the 12th December deadline an estimated 200 or more tenants served amnesty notices on their landlords in order to ensure that they would be able to take advantage of the amnesty and have their improvements agreed and recorded as eligible for end of tenancy compensation.   Serving an amnesty notice triggers a formal process by which the landlord has 2 months within which to object and following a landlord’s objection, a tenant has a further 2 month period to refer the matter to the Land Court. It was envisaged that this would give landlords and tenants an opportunity to agree their differences and conclude the amnesty.

However, recent legal opinion now suggests there may be doubt whether such agreements signed outside of the amnesty period are enforceable without ratification from the Land Court. In practice this means;

  • Where a landlord has made no objections to the improvements contained in the notice or has not replied by the end of the 2 month period, the tenant doesn’t need to do anything further other than make sure they keep a copy of the notice and proof of delivery safe.
  • Where the landlord objects to some but not every item and the tenant decides to accept the position, nothing further needs to be done, other than keeping a copy of the objection notice safely with the amnesty notice.
  • If the tenant wants to contest the position they must apply to the Land Court within 2 months of the objection notice. If they reach agreement with the landlord during that time, they still have to apply to the Land Court for approval of the list of agreed improvements, before the 2 month deadline expires.
  • Any agreement made after the end of the amnesty period on 12th December will need to be approved by the Land Court. Tenants who have signed amnesty agreements after 12th December should take professional advice as to how to proceed as soon as possible.

The Tenant Farming Commissioner’s guidance sets out the legal position and how to proceed in dealing with any landlord’s objections. The full text can be found on the Land Commission’s website;


Commenting on the situation STFA Chairman Christopher Nicholson said: “Although it is disappointing that a legal complication has arisen for those who have not yet completed their amnesties, it can be resolved providing the correct procedure is followed. We also anticipate that the process of obtaining Land Court approval for an agreed amnesty should not be onerous or expensive.

“Tenants who served notices towards the tail end of the amnesty period will be finding the statutory clock ticking and therefore, STFA strongly recommends that they seek professional advice as soon as possible. We would also remind all tenants who have taken part in the amnesty to keep copies of all documentation associated with the amnesty, particularly copies of the safe delivery of the formal notices and objection notices.