This week saw the STFA release a statement on rent reviews claiming that some land agents and landowners are starting rent reviews too late and seeking ‘outrageous’ rent increases. Scottish Land & Estates is disappointed at this turn of events. Scottish Land & Estates has repeatedly stated that it will try to help where it can and that it believes that tenant and landowner organisations have to work together to secure the future of the tenanted sector, yet the STFA continually undermines any attempt to build better relations by inflaming the debate in the press. Scottish Land & Estates felt it had to respond and released the following statement:
Luke Borwick, Chairman of Scottish Land & Estates, said: “First and foremost, there is no need for any tenant or indeed landlord to agree to a farm rent that either of them believes to be unfair. There are tested routes open to all parties to resolve rent disputes. We have evidence that in the areas of Scotland worst affected by weather, owners and tenants have come to sensible and amicable agreements.
“If there are cases where rent review discussions are being opened ‘at the last minute’ then that evidence should be provided to us and we will investigate, where a member is involved. Our policy is quite clear and that is that dialogue should be taking place between the parties at the earliest opportunity; that dialogue can be opened by EITHER party as soon as the notice is served. Our experience is that the overwhelming majority of rent reviews are agreed through constructive discussion and very few remain unresolved. It is disappointing that the STFA make these allegations every rent review date. Tenant and landowner organisations need to work together to promote good practice and constructive relationships, yet the STFA continually inflames the debate and in doing so undermines the very sector it purports to defend.
“Scottish Land & Estates supports the recommendations of the Rent Review Working Group, the members of which were approved by all members of The Tenant Farming Forum including the Scottish Tenant Farmers Association. That Group investigated fully the question of rent review methodology and procedure and recommended no significant change to the statutory requirements.
“We continue to support fully the work of the Tenant Farming Forum which is making significant progress both on other issues which came out of the Group’s recommendations and also on matters where there are perceived pressure points between landlords and tenants.”