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Recommended Guide to Good Practice in Rent Reviews

Recommended Guide to Good Practice in Rent Reviews

The Tenant farming Forum  recently launched a Guide to Good Practice in Rent Reviews for agricultural landlords and tenant farmers.  The aim of this Guide is to encourage  good practice and regularise the way in which rent reviews are conducted and it is hoped and expected that this guide will accompany rent review notices due to be issued in the next few days.

 To view the recommended Guide:

http://www.tfascotland.org.uk/member_website/downloads/The%20Tenant%20Farming%20Forum%20-%20Guide%20to%20Good%20Practice%20(SYREV230413)%20010513.pdf

STFA calls for sensible rent reviews

STFA calls for sensible rent reviews

STFA calls for sensible rent reviews

 

The Scottish Tenant Farmers Association is urging tenants not to feel pressurised to agreeing last minute demands for unreasonable rent increases.  STFA is frustrated to discover that, despite expressing concerns to ScottishLands and Estates, there are still landlords and land agents who are leaving rent reviews to the last minute despite widespread condemnation of the practice.  Moreover there are some substantial rent rises being demanded despite last year’s appalling weather and a harsh spring.  

STFA has welcomed last week’s publication of a Guide to Good Practice for land agents as a long overdue first step in regulating landlord tenant relationships but is renewing calls for the Guide to be reinforced by a code of conduct backed by meaningful sanctions to bring maverick landlords under control. 

Commenting on the situation STFA chairman Christopher Nicholson said: “It is ironic that in a week which saw the government announce £6m in aid for farmers hardest hit by the worst spring in living memory and the publication of a code of practice for rent reviews, we hear of some land agents only starting to review rents less than a month before the term date and some outrageous rental demands.  Indeed, we have had examples of landlords trying to double rents agreed only three years ago. 

“Yet again this is clear proof of the need not only to regulate the relationship between landlord and tenant but also to bring about a change to the law to ensure that farm rents reflect the economic reality of farming rather than the frenzy of an open market which owes more to land hunger and the economics of the madhouse.  

“Although we support much of the recent Rent Review Group’s recommendations to introduce a practitioners’ guide and a code of conduct we firmly believe that there must be change to the legislation to take proper account of the profitability of farming and to create clear water between an over-heated market for new tenancies and the non-existent market for existing traditional tenancies.  We have given evidence to this effect to the Scottish parliament and will be writing the Cabinet Secretary again to reinforce our view which is shared by the overwhelming majority of tenants in Scotland.”

SCOTTISH GOVERNMENT LOSES SALVESEN RIDDELL APPEAL

SCOTTISH GOVERNMENT LOSES SALVESEN RIDDELL APPEAL

The Scottish Tenant Farmers Association has recorded its extreme disappointment that the UK Supreme Court has refused the Scottish Government’s appeal against the Court of Session’s ruling in the Salvesen Riddell case.  The UK’s highest law court has now confirmed that the provision in S72 of the Agricultural Holdings Act in 2003 to give additional protection to tenants in Limited Partnerships contravenes ECHR and is outside the competence of the Scottish Parliament.

In recognising the complexity of the legislation the Supreme Court has given the Scottish Government a year to correct the defective legislation and to find solutions for the competing interests of the individuals involved.  The Government will be working closely with the Parliament and industry stakeholders in identifying a suitable way forward.

Commenting on the Court’s ruling STFA chairman Christopher Nicholson said; “This news will come as a bitter blow to those tenants, families and businesses who will be affected by the court’s ruling.  The original legislation was enacted in a genuine attempt to put a stop to Limited partnerships being terminated and it is very disappointing that, 10 years on, we are  now told that the law is not competent.

“Our priority will now be to try and safeguard the interests of tenants who are affected by the legislation. Tenants who have used the legislation in good faith must not be penalised further and it is important that the rights of the 500 or so tenants still in Limited Partnerships are not prejudiced by this decision.  We have already been in discussion with government officials to this end and will be working closely with them and other stakeholders in the coming weeks and months. “

New Tenant Leader Calls for Rent Standstill

New Tenant Leader Calls for Rent Standstill

The Scottish Tenant Farmers Association has called upon landlords and their agents for a rent standstill to allow tenant farmers to recover from one of the most challenging years in living memory and a rent rebate for hard pressed livestock farmers who have experienced enormous difficulties and incurred substantial losses during the recent prolonged snow storms.

In a letter to Scottish Lands and Estates and to major firms of land agents, recently appointed STFA Chairman Christopher Nicholson said that tenant farmers have been hard hit by the unbroken bad weather over the last twelve months which has resulted in disastrous harvests for arable farmers, fodder shortages and increased costs for livestock farmers.  This has all conspired to put great strain on farming businesses, which has now been compounded by the ravages of recent prolonged snow storms and a late spring.

Blackies snow 2He went on to say: “I believe that it would be in the spirit of the landlord/tenant partnership and entirely appropriate for you, as landlords, to agree not to pursue tenants for rent rises this year.  The stresses and strains of trying of survive under difficult farming conditions will only be exacerbated by rent reviews in the next few weeks.   A moratorium on rent increases for 2013 would allow tenant farming businesses some time to recover from the effects of last year and to make plans to adapt to the challeges of climate change and the likelihood of continuing extreme weather patterns as well as making provision for reduced direct support under CAP reform.

“Hill livestock farmers affected by the recent snow storms will now face reduced income from calving and lambing losses and will have to face the prospect of replacing breeding stock which have perished due to the severe weather.  This will inevitably cause major financial hardship and possible pressure from banks reluctant to extend overdraft facilities to tenant farmers.  I would ask you to consider a rent rebate for livestock farmers in this position.”

Notes for editors:

Christopher Nicholson from Wigtownshire has recently been appointed to the post of Chairman of STFA, succeeding Angus McCall who has been in the post since 2004.  Christopher farms the family farm Kidsdale near Whithorn in Wigtownshire where he runs 110 suckler cows, broiler breeder units and grows 720 acres of cereals.  He has been a director of STFA for seven years and vice chairman for the last three.  Christopher has also been chairing the NFUS Tenants Working Group for the last two years.

The Board of Directors has also appointed two vice chairmen to assist Christopher; Michael Halliday, a dairy farmer from Dumfries and Andrew Stoddart, an arable and sheep farmer from Mid-Lothian.  The new team will be assisted by STFA manager, Fiona Wallace, membership administrator, Karen Young and Angus McCall who is to remain on the Board for the next two years as executive director.

For further information and for a photograph of Christopher Nicholson please contact either:

Fiona Wallace  Tel: 01556 640211 / 07717422351 fwallace@tfascotland.org.uk

Or

Angus McCall  Tel: 07767 756840  stfa@tfascotland.org.uk

 

STFA Appoints new Chairman

STFA Appoints new Chairman

The STFA Board of Directors is pleased to announce the appointment of Christopher Nicholson from Wigtownshire to the post of Chairman of STFA, succeeding Angus McCall who has been in the post since 2004.  Christopher farms the family farm Kidsdale near Whithorn in Wigtownshire where he runs 110 suckler cows, broiler breeder units and grows 720 acres of cereals.  He has been a director of STFA for seven years and vice chairman for the last three.  Christopher has also been chairing the NFUS Tenants Working Group for the last two years.

The Board of Directors has also appointed two vice chairmen to assist Christopher; Michael Halliday, a dairy farmer from Dumfries and Andrew Stoddart, an arable and sheep farmer from Mid-Lothian.  The new team will be assisted by STFA manager, Fiona Wallace, membership administrator, Karen Young and Angus McCall who is to remain on the Board for the next two years as executive director.

New Website

New Website

fillerWelcome to the new TFA Scotland website! Please stay tuned as we add the latest news and events to the site, and note that our members can access their regular control panel via the login form in the right column.