Scottish Land & Estates today responded to recent comments from the Scottish Tenant Farmers’ Association regarding rent reviews.
Luke Borwick, Chairman of Scottish Land & Estates, said: "Yet again, STFA resorts to the unwarranted vilification of landlords and land agents and paints a picture that does not reflect reality. There are some 7000 tenanted landholdings in Scotland, where the overwhelming majority of tenants enjoy amicable and professional relationships with landlords.
"Less than 1% of the rent reviews which may be carried out every three years go to any form of arbitration. Without specific examples which demonstrate the unfairness suggested by Angus McCall, his comments must be regarded as at best misleading and at worst theatrical.
"We would seriously question the motives of the STFA in creating a distorted picture of the true situation via the media. We have no evidence of landlords or their agents utilising threatening methods leading to 'eye watering rents'. Angus McCall should be asked to produce specific examples. In our experience where there have been significant rent rises it is mainly because the rent had not been reviewed for many years. It is not in landowners' interests to try and implement unsustainable rents.
"We believe rent reviews should be conducted on a regular basis as part of good business practice, even if they do not result in changes to rents. We do not wish to see a return to the situation where there is unrest in the sector through rents not being reviewed for lengthy periods of time - although this practice was a reflection of the challenging economic situation being faced by the whole sector at that time.
"This latest outburst from STFA is particularly disappointing given the fact we have repeatedly asked Angus McCall to bring problematic cases to our notice. Only a handful of cases were raised and further investigation revealed the story on the ground was different to the one told publicly. The STFA would help their members better by aiming to work together with others in the field rather than creating tensions where they need not exist. We continue to work closely with industry partners, particularly NFUS, to promote a healthy and vibrant tenanted sector"