Scottish Tenant Farmers Association

News Release

26th November


 The Scottish Tenant Farmers Association is concerned at the lack of progress in settling some long running rental disputes in the Land Court despite the consensus amongst industry bodies that rents should be kept at sensible levels pending legislative change.  Although the recent rent initiative does not apply to cases sisted (put on hold) to the Land Court, it was hoped that the spirit of agreement would influence rent disputes already in the Court process.

Commenting on the situation STFA spokesman Angus McCall said: “With the November term date imminent it would seem that the recent industry rent initiative has encouraged most rent reviews to be settled at sensible levels. However we are aware of a handful which have been left to the last minute and may be referred to the Land Court to keep negotiations open.  We hope this practice will be outlawed in the forthcoming review to stop the Land Court being used as a way of increasing the pressure on tenants.  Rents should only be referred to the Land Court, or preferably some form of arbitration or expert determination, if there is a genuine dispute over the level of rent being demanded.

“One of our main areas of concern relates to the number of unresolved rent review cases still lying unresolved in the Land Court, there are more than a dozen, some since 2008.   This places an intolerable strain on the families affected who have spent years facing the uncertainty of an ongoing rental dispute with the bleak prospect of a Land Court hearing sometime in the future.  It is unbelievable that rent disputes are allowed to continue for such a long period of time and it is doubly disappointing that the current consensus over sensible rent settlements has not done anything to bring them to a conclusion.

“We expect the AHLRG to make some robust recommendations on the conduct of rent disputes and the way they are handled by the Land Court.  Since 2004 over 200 rent review cases have been referred to the Land Court but only 4 rent review cases have actually come to Court.  This is not because of amicable settlements but because the alternative is to face bankruptcy through the Court process.  The move from arbitration to the Land Court has failed the rent review process and until change can be brought about landlords, their agents and tenants must abide by the voluntary rental initiative and that includes those stuck in the Land Court.”