Scottish Tenant Farmers Association

News Release

27th January 2016




The Scottish Tenant Farmers Association has greeted the issue of the Guidance note for help with rent reviews by Andrew Thin as timely in the run up to the date by which land agents should have been contacting tenants whose rents are to be reviewed.

The conduct of rent reviews has concerned tenant farmers for some time. What should be a routine business transaction all too frequently becomes a stressful and sometimes confrontational performance.  Much of this is due to the tactics used by land agents in their attempts to extract as much rent as possible from their tenants, but sometimes tenants are not fully aware of the rent review process and how it should be carried out.  Andrew Thin’s guidance note will help explain the steps tenants should take and give them greater confidence in dealing with land agents.

It was evident during the last round of rent reviews that a significant number had been carried out with scant regard for codes of good practice. This sort of behaviour must be consigned to history. STFA is keen to highlight the need for both parties to conduct rent reviews properly, fully justifying any change in rent, up or down, and giving plenty of time for discussion and negotiation.  Tenants and landlords should also bear in mind that there is an industry agreement in place which advises that rent increases, if justifiable, should be limited to inflation – the Consumer Price Index.

STFA has recently written to all their members reminding them that, if they have been issued with a notice for a rent review for this May, according to agreed practice guidelines, they should already have had an initial visit from their landlord or factor to walk the farm and discuss the rent review. An initial rental figure, justified by comparable and economic evidence, should be presented to the tenant for discussion at least 4 months before the term date.  It has to be pointed out, however, that it will be difficult to find any justification for an increase of rent in today’s economic climate.

STFA is also lobbying MSPs to bring forward amendments to the Land Reform Bill introducing statutory codes of practice in rent reviews and giving the new Tenant Farming Commissioner the means to enforce them. WE have also been lobbying for the creation of separate codes of conduct, to improve standards of behaviour and encourage respect and civility between all sides.

Press Release below and link to the Guide can be found here


Self Help Guide to Rent Reviews Issued


The Scottish Government’s Independent Adviser on Tenant Farming has issued a new self help guide ahead of spring 2016 rent reviews on tenanted farms across Scotland. The guide has been shaped by advice from a number of industry stakeholders. It aims to provide both landlords and tenants with a summary of what they need to know, regardless of whether they intend to conduct their own rent review or pay someone to do it for them.

It goes through the main steps that should be followed during the rent review process itself, and it looks briefly at changes proposed in the Land Reform Bill. It emphasises good practice including the Joint Industry Guidance issued in 2015, and lists the main sources of help that are available.

Explaining his decision to issue the guide Andrew Thin said “The setting of a fair rent is central to ensuring a constructive partnership between landlord and tenant. Few other aspects of the relationship are as important”.

“Most landlords and tenants understand this very well, but occasionally things can go wrong and disagreements ensue. As a consequence rent reviews can sometimes be daunting experiences for both parties”.

“The aim of the guide is to help demystify the process and provide landlords and tenants with the basic information that they will need to manage a rent review successfully”.

“Specialist skills are not essential other than an ability to analyse information, think logically and write clearly. Help with specific elements of the process can always be bought in if required”.

“The guide should enable landlords and tenants to approach rent reviews with confidence, ensure due process, and secure a fair outcome for both parties”.

Copies of the guide are available from the Scottish’s Government Independent Adviser at http://www.gov.scot/Topics/farmingrural/Agriculture/agricultural-holdings/Tenant-Farming-Adviser or by contacting the NFUS, SLE or STFA.