Scottish tenant farmers are being encouraged to share their views on the current rent review system as part of a government survey.
The Scottish Tenant Farmers’ Association (STFA) is encouraging all tenants to complete and return a Scottish Government survey, which they should have received by post, by May 24.
It said the survey results will be used to inform a review of the current rent review test and process for agricultural tenancies.
“As many tenants will know, we have still not moved on from the open market rent test, which for several decades has proved an unsatisfactory method of setting rents,” said STFA chairman, Christopher Nicholson.
“With a scarcity of open market lettings it is difficult for parties to find suitable comparable evidence and the current open market test does not take account of the firm’s earnings capacity.”
He said industry guidance and a new code of practice from Scotland’s Tenant Farming Commissioner, Bob McIntosh, had sought to protect tenants from “damaging rent increases” until a new rent review process is in place.
“Before Scottish Government can start work to implement a new rent test, this survey of tenants is required to find out what tenants think of current rent reviews,” added Mr Nicholson.
“We would encourage tenants to complete the survey, which should only take five to 10 minutes, and return as instructed by the deadline of May 24. Unless the survey shows an appetite for change away from the current open market test it will be difficult to persuade Government to introduce a new rent test.”
Changes to the way rents are determined for secure agricultural tenancies were proposed by the Scottish Government-commissioned Agricultural Holdings Legislation Review Group in 2015.
The group proposed that rents be determined on the basis of the productive capacity of the holding, while taking into account the contribution of non-agricultural diversified activities.