Scottish Land & Estates, which represents landowners and estates throughout Scotland, today called for a ‘level playing field’ in the Scottish Government’s plans to resolve the legal wrangle over the Salvesen v Riddell case.
Scottish Land & Estates has given written and oral evidence to the Scottish Parliament’s Rural Affairs, Climate Change and Environment Committee on the proposals to rectify legislation that led to a Supreme Court decision which found the rights of the landlord had been violated.
Richard Blake, legal adviser to Scottish Land & Estates, said: “Our members are well aware of the difficulties caused both to landlords and to tenants by virtue of the defective law and sympathise with those tenants who may now be faced with a major reorganisation of their businesses.
“While it will be for Scottish Government to address the needs of the tenants who have been caught up in the defective law, the Supreme Court held that the human rights of the landlord had been violated. As such, it is for the Scottish Parliament both to correct this to ensure that the legal position complies with ECHR and also to put landlords, who have been affected by the defective law, back to where they were before the enactment of the legislation.
“This is a very complex matter. It involves commercial agreements between two parties which came to an end. When that happens either party can decide to carry on with an appropriate agreement, come to an alternative arrangement or end the relationship. Ill informed comment and speculation about the threat to tenants has not helped matters. Suggestions that this is all about people ‘being evicted’ have been misleading. It will be possible for the parties to agree an alternative business structure where a lease will come to an end because of the proposed legislative fix. Both tenants and landlords are affected and may be in a position to claim compensation from the government and it would help if this situation was recognised publicly by the government.
“We are concerned that all affected landlords have not been afforded equal treatment by the proposals as they stand and we have reservations that some aspects of the proposed measures may not be fully compliant with ECHR.
“Scottish Land & Estates also believes that the interests of landlords who may have sold holdings or made alternative agreements as a result of the defective legislation have not yet been full addressed.”