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Landowners and Tenants Need To Make Most Of Good Working Relationships

New government research shows landlord-tenant relationships working well

Scottish Land & Estates, which represents landowners and estates across Scotland, said today new research published by the Scottish Government showed positive relationships between landlords and tenants are the norm in the tenanted sector and offer the industry a solid platform to build for the future.

This latest phase of research reflected earlier surveys that showed relationships between landlords and tenants are generally positive and only a minority have experienced a major dispute with each other. Tenant farmers also expressed satisfaction with their landlord’s representatives.

Where disputes to happen, they tend to be around rent reviews, fixed equipment or other business matters. These disputes, according to the research findings, are resolved normally by the parties talking to each other or by seeking advice from a professional.

Commenting on the research, David Johnstone, chairman of Scottish Land & Estates, said: “It is quite clear from this extensive research that relationships between landlords and tenants are generally good and that is encouraging for the future of the sector.

“It does not mean that everything is rosy in the garden and all of us involved in tenant farming need to work together and build on this positive platform for the good of tenant farming – which – after all – still offers the best opportunity for the next generation of farmers.

“There are areas such as investment in fixed equipment that should be and, with goodwill on all sides will be, addressed through the Agricultural Holdings Legislation Review’. Landlords and tenants both have statutory obligations to fulfil and it is disturbing that only 1 in 10 tenants involved in the survey had served notice of improvements to the landlord. That is why we have proposed a one-off time-limited amnesty which should resolve that situation.

“The responses from owner-occupier farmers give real food for thought. Most farmland in Scotland is owner-occupied and only a small minority of them are saying they have confidence to let land in the future.

“They have business reasons for saying that but also make the point that uncertainty around legislation is detrimental to farming and they would like to see more freedom for landlords and tenants to develop business contracts.

“What this research shows is that the tenanted sectors offers a system that can be developed in the interests of farming and we should all work towards that goal rather than continually being embroiled in an all –too polarised debate.

“We hope that the Agricultural Holdings Legislation Review Group and the Scottish Government will take heed of these research findings and the Review Group’s forthcoming final report will reflect that there are plenty of encouraging signs within the sector to take us forward.”


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