Land owners urged to have their say on farm tenancies

Land owners who rent or lease their ground out are being urged to take part in a Scottish Government survey of the sector.

The questionnaire asks landlords about their experiences and views on letting out land; the tenants survey has already been done.

Responses will go into the Minister-led Agricultural Holdings Legislation review which is considering issues in the tenanted sector, including an absolute right to buy for traditional secure 1991 agricultural tenancies.

The survey was developed in collaboration with Tenant Farming Forum members including NFU Scotland (NFUS), Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS) Scotland, Scottish Tenant Farmers Association (STFA), Scottish Land and Estates (SLE) and Scottish Agricultural Arbiters and Valuers Association (SAAVA)

Union president, Stow farmer Nigel Miller said: “It is hugely important to Scottish agriculture that we have a tenanted sector that works for existing tenants and landlords, while also ensuring that there are opportunities for new and expanding businesses to rent land. It is important that those who let out land on a permanent basis, a fixed term tenancy or seasonal basis feed in their views to this survey.

“The remit of the review group is to examine if we have the appropriate legislation to deliver a tenanted sector that’s fit for purpose or if changes are required to improve existing tenancy agreements, such as changes to the rent review process and waygo. At the end of the process, we need a legislative framework that encourages the owners of land to rent while providing security to the tenant, allowing them to invest in their farms.

“The recent successful survey of Scottish tenant farmers was the first piece in the review process jigsaw and now it is the turn of those who let out land. Their participation will ensure any future decisions by the review group are balanced and based on the most accurate data available.”

In 2013, NFU Scotland held two seminars which saw a wide range of stakeholders map out a vision for how land tenure in Scotland might look come 2020. The union is also currently meeting tenant and landlord members at meetings around Scotland to help inform its forthcoming submission to the review group.

Anyone who lets out land and has not received a copy of the survey by Friday, April 4, can request one by contacting David.Myers@ipsos.com and providing details of the relevant farming business including holding reference numbers. Responses can be submitted online or on paper and are requested by April 7, 2014 although will continue be accepted until early May.