The Rent Review Working Group has published its report on rent reviews under the terms of Section 13 of the Agricultural Holdings (Scotland) Act 1991.
The group recommended:
- No adjustment of Section 13 of the 1991 Act, as amended but attempt to improve operation of the existing rent review formula in light of the clarification provided in the Moonzie decision.
- Improve understanding of Section 13 of the 1991 Act, as amended, by developing –
1. A practitioners guide;
2. An explanatory note for service with rent review notices; and
3. A lay persons guide.
- Improve access to comparable rents – establish and maintain a voluntary rent register.
- Accelerate the process and reduce the cost of dispute resolution –
1. Engage with the Land Court to explore the possibility of a case management procedure applicable to rent review applications; and
2. Develop the alternative dispute resolution procedures of arbitration or expert determination.
Scottish Land & Estates welcomed the findings. Douglas McAdam, Chief Executive, said the findings of the report demonstrated common sense and landowners would support its recommendations. He said: ”We are pleased to see that the Rent Review Working Group has formed a view that Section 13 of the Agricultural Holdings (Scotland) Act 1991 is fit for purpose. Although it is clearly a tried and tested framework that was further clarified by the Moonzie decision, there is always room for improvement in any system. The recommendations brought forward by the group should help to streamline the rent review process further and hopefully will encourage even better relationships between landlord and tenant. We also fully support the desire to accelerate and reduce the cost of dispute resolution which is a particularly positive suggestion.
“We think it is entirely sensible that landlords and tenants should meet regularly to discuss their arrangements and we are in favour of a three-year rent review cycle which provides both parties with greater clarity and encourages transparency”.
“1991 Act tenants enjoy extraordinary levels of protection and it is regrettable that all too often the relationship between tenants and landlords is portrayed as being hostile. The report reflects the fact that the overwhelming majority of rent reviews are agreed amicably and the real priorities for the parties involved is getting on with making their businesses successful and sustainable.”
To access the report go to http://www.tenantfarmingforum.org.uk/tff/pubs.aspx