Cab. Sec. urged to put new tenancy laws into force without delay

Scottish Tenant Farmers Association

News Release

15th June 2016

Cab. Sec. urged to put new tenancy laws into force without delay


The Scottish Tenant Farmers Association is urging the new Cabinet Secretary for the Rural Economy and Connectivity, Fergus Ewing, to put Part 10 of the Land Reform Act relating to farm tenancies into force as soon as possible.

Although the Land Reform Act was passed by the Scottish Parliament in March and received Royal Assent in April, it is not yet active and STFA has been informed that some sections, such as rent reviews, are unlikely to be implemented for at least another couple of years. STFA recognises that delays are inevitable due to the need for fine details to be agreed and enshrined in secondary legislation, but has called upon government to press on with this work as a matter of urgency.

In his letter to the Cabinet Sectary, STFA chairman Christopher Nicholson said: “Whilst we appreciate that there is a great deal of work to be done before the Land Reform Act can be fully implemented, particularly with regard to much of the detail of the new rent test, there are areas of the new act which do not require further legislation and could be implemented almost immediately.

“Neither the section relating to succession and assignation nor the appointment of a Tenant Farming Commissioner are subject to regulatory powers and could be up and running almost immediately. As we all know, life (and death) carries on, regardless of the parliamentary process, and there is a danger that some tenants may narrowly miss out form transferring their tenancies to a chosen relative if this part of the Act is delayed. STFA is aware of several tenants in this position where a delay of weeks, or even days could mean the difference between a family retaining or losing a tenancy.

“Similarly, the work currently being undertaken by Andrew Thin is demonstrating the need for a Tenant Farming Commissioner to help with relationships between landlords, their factors and tenant farmers and to review the way in which land agents operate. Relationships may well become fraught again as the new provisions within the Act are used and the steadying hand of a TFC be needed to encourage reasonable relationships between landlords and tenants.

“Rent reviews remain one of the most contentious areas of dispute between landlords and their tenants, the longer the delay in the new rent test becoming available the greater the chance of land agents trying to pre-empt change by using the current system to hike up rents.

“The Land Reform Act heralds a new era for tenant farming and the sooner it becomes active the quicker the tenanted sector will be able to adjust their businesses and plan ahead for the future.”