Green light for tenant farming reforms
A package of reforms to modernise the tenant farming sector were today approved by the Scottish Parliament.
The Agricultural Holdings (Amendment) (Scotland) Bill builds on previous reforms and aims to increase availability of agricultural land for let and encourage new and young farmer entrants into farming.
The Bill passed today makes changes to rent review arrangements to ban "upward only" and "landlord only" initiated rent reviews as well as making it easier for grandchildren to inherit farm tenancies.
The Bill will:
- Extend the definition of "near relative" (being the class of successors who are entitled to serve counter notice to a notice to quit) to include a grandchild of a deceased tenant
- Prohibit lease terms which provide for "upward only" or "landlord only" initiated rent reviews in Limited Duration Tenancies
- Provide that changes in rent resulting from the exercise or revocation of the option to tax by a landlord, or a change in the rate of VAT do not qualify as a "variation of rent", which would prevent parties from seeking a determination from the Land Court on the rent for three years
Rural Affairs Secretary Richard Lochhead said:
"We are committed to ensuring Scotland has a healthy and vibrant tenant farming sector. That's why we're working to remove barriers to the letting of farm land, increase confidence in the working relationships between landlord and tenants and give the tenant farming sector a greater level of security.
"The Tenant Farming Forum has worked with us to develop solutions to the issues affecting the industry and today launched their Rent Review Working Group. The work will be taken forward by a panel of independent experts - chaired by Henry Graham, with Ian Duncan Millar, John Ross and John Mitchell. The group will report their findings in November and I expect the TFF to make recommendations to me by next May.
"This group is further evidence of our determination to tackle the issues surrounding the tenant farming sector – and the legislation passed today will be a key part of this.
"I'm delighted that parliament has backed our proposals and look forward to seeing our tenant farming sector move forward and thrive."
Tenant Farming Forum