The Independent Adviser on Tenant Farming, Andrew Thin, has called for a wide ranging debate about the role of agents following an amendment to the Land Reform (Scotland) Bill.
The amendment was tabled in Parliament last week by Richard Lochhead MSP, Cabinet Secretary for Rural Affairs, Food and Environment.
It will require an incoming Tenant Farming Commissioner to report on the operation of agents in relation to agricultural holdings within 12 months of the measure coming into force.
The Independent Adviser has now issued a discussion paper on conduct and standards for agents in order to facilitate debate across the industry about the issues raised in Parliament.
He is also seeking meetings with all the relevant professional bodies that represent agents in order to get their input and support for appropriate action.
Explaining the thinking behind the discussion paper Andrew Thin said –
“Concern has been expressed in Parliament about widespread dissatisfaction with the conduct of agents in some cases. This is not something that anyone who acts on behalf of landlords or tenants can afford to ignore”.
“Of course many agents are doing an excellent and professional job, but something is clearly going wrong in certain cases, and it is vital that the sector acts quickly to get on top of this”.
“Agents, and especially the large firms that employ many of them, should be able to resolve this for themselves rather than relying on government to do it for them”.
A copy of the discussion paper (attached) is available direct from the Independent Adviser at www.gov.scot/Topics/farmingrural/Agriculture/agricultural-holdings/Tenant-Farming-Adviser