STFA welcomes intervention by the Tenant Farming Commissioner to reach agreement for Borders tenant farmer


Scottish Tenant Farmers Association

News Release

                                                                                                                    3rd March 2019


Scottish Tenant Farmers Association welcomes intervention by the Tenant Farming Commissioner to reach agreement for Borders tenant farmer

The Scottish Tenant Farmers Association welcomes the announcement today from the Tenant Farming Commissioner that a solution has been found to allow a tenant farmer to remain on a farm he rented from Buccleuch Estates.

David and Alison Telfer occupy Cleuchfoot Farm on Buccleuch Estates near Langholm on a short limited duration lease. The couple wished to remain on the holding until their retirement and said they had received verbal assurance from the previous Duke of Buccleuch which would allow them to remain as tenants beyond the end of their short limited duration lease.

Buccleuch Estates had wished to bring the Telfers’ occupation of the holding to an end earlier than their original planned retirement date in order to sell the farm and adjoining hill ground with the immediate prospect of vacant possession.

Last year the Telfers approached the Tenant Farming Commissioner, Bob McIntosh, in an attempt to reach an agreement between Buccleuch and the buyers to allow the Telfers to remain on the farm until their retirement. Through discussion with all the parties, a satisfactory agreement has now been achieved.

Commenting on the agreement reached through the intervention of Bob McIntosh, STFA Chairman Christopher Nicholson said: ‘This is a clear demonstration of how the Tenant Farming Commissioner can help tenants who believe they have been put in an unfair position by their landlord, and credit is due to Bob McIntosh and the land Commission for enabling this agreement which is satisfactory for both tenant and landlord. We would also like to pay tribute to regional MSP Joan McAlpine for her hard work behind the scenes in ensuring a fair outcome for the Telfers. The new owners, James Jones & Sons Ltd, must also be given credit for extending the Telfer’s lease, despite being under no legal obligation to do so.’

‘If the Telfers had not been prepared to stand up and make their case to the Tenant Farming Commissioner then they would likely be leaving their farm, home and livelihood this year. The lesson is clear, tenants need to be prepared to take their cases to the Commissioner when they find themselves in difficult situations. Unfortunately there is still a belief amongst tenants that taking a dispute to the Commissioner will risk the wrath of their landlord and make matters worse. However, it is time for attitudes to change, and the now two year record of the Land Commission shows that disputes can be resolved amicably with a timely intervention from the Tenant Farming Commissioner.’