The level of dissatisfaction in farm tenant and landlord relationships is relatively low, claims Scotland’s tenant farming commissioner Bob McIntosh.
Speaking at the annual general meeting of the Scottish Agricultural Arbiters and Valuers Association (SAAVA) in Cumbernauld, Mr McIntosh said a recent survey revealed that only 6% of tenants and 1% of landlords were experiencing poor or very poor tenant/landlord relations. Tenants on larger units with longer tenancies were more dissatisfied than others.
“The things they said that helped the good relationships were regular contact, more face-to-face contact and less use of agents,” said Mr McIntosh.
He said his current review into the conduct of agents had also revealed relatively low levels of dissatisfaction – a survey on the issue found that 17% of tenants and 8% of landlords were dissatisfied with the conduct of agents.
“I think in some ways it’s a good result because it shows that the whole system is not bust, but there is a bit of work to do to get it better,” added Mr McIntosh.
“It certainly does not justify some of the stuff that was coming out of the (Scottish Parliament’s) rural affairs committee.”
He said full results from the surveys of landlords and tenants would be published later this week along with a consultation seeking views on the issue. A full report with recommendations for Scottish Government will then be published by the end of next month.
Meanwhile, the latest agricultural land occupation survey for the year to November 30, 2017, reveals a rough balance between land flowing into the let sector and land leaving it.
The survey, conducted by SAAVA and its English counterparts, CAAV, covers 142 units on 35,179 acres with changes involving decisions about the letting or occupation of agricultural land in Scotland.
Of the acreage in question, only 289 acres was lost in the year. This compares with a net loss of almost 28,000 acres in 2016.
CAAV secretary and adviser Jeremy Moody said a key finding from the latest survey was the sheer predominance of bare land lettings in the year.
More than three-quarters – 78% – of the lettings in 2017 were for bare land and only 12% included a dwelling. The average size of a new tenancy was 325 acres and the average length was 3.68 years. Four lettings, accounting for 20%, were to new entrants.