TFC guidance on the conduct of agents welcomed by STFA

Scottish Tenant Farmers Association

News Release

                                                                                                          16th April 2019 

STFA welcomes the publication of TFC guidance on the conduct of agents

The Scottish Tenant Farmers Association welcomes the recent publication by the Tenant Farming Commissioner (TFC) of a guide to the professional conduct of agents and how to make a complaint against an agent who ignores accepted standards.

The guidance has been published following the TFC’s review of agents in 2018 which showed that while relationships between tenants, landlords and agents were in general good, there was still room for improvement.

Commenting on the guidance, STFA Chairman Christopher Nicholson said: ‘While the majority of agents operate in a positive manner with regard for the interests of both their client and other parties which leads to healthy relationships between landlord and tenant, there are a small but significant minority who sometimes fail to adhere to the relevant standards expected of professionals. The key areas of dissatisfaction with agents are generally poor communication, lack of transparency in negotiations, insensitive behaviour, and a lack of consideration of the impact their conduct has on long term relationships between landlord and tenant.’

‘One of the main obstacles to improving the conduct of agents is the reluctance of either party to make a formal complaint against poor behaviour. Agents are unlikely to make a complaint against a fellow agent, and tenants often believe that making a complaint will only aggravate an already difficult situation. Attitudes to making complaints need to change, so that raising a complaint is seen as a positive and helpful process leading to improved professional conduct instead of the negative finger pointing which complaints are sometimes perceived as. Bad practice can only be rooted out if complaints are made which can lead to investigations. This latest guidance from the TFC can only help in improving professional standards.’