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Amnesty – Procedural Update from the Tenant Farming Commissioner

The Tenant Farming Commissioner provides further advice to tenant farmers completing the amnesty on improvements.

In situations where a tenant has issued an amnesty notice and a landlord has subsequently issued a notice of objection, the Tenant Farming Commissioner advises that where agreement can be reached between the parties, there are two ways of proceeding.

Bob McIntosh, the Tenant Farming Commissioner, explains:

“The amnesty on tenant’s improvements continues to occupy minds. I am aware that in some cases tenants and landlords simply required more time beyond the amnesty deadline to finalise agreements. Where notices have been served correctly and where agreements have been reached, there are two ways to ensure that these are legally binding. The tenant can either submit an application to the Scottish Land Court or engage an arbitrator – but action must be taken within two months of the landlord’s objection notice being received.”

The Tenant Farming Commissioner has issued two templates to help those involved to complete the process.

One is a template application form to the Land Court seeking an order that approves the parties’ agreement. If everything is procedurally correct, this will hopefully result in a final order being issued by the Court with relatively little prior procedure. The aim is to make the process simple for all involved and to keep costs down, and the Land Court has agreed that use of the template application form will be helpful.

Alternatively, the parties can appoint an arbitrator to determine the relevant improvements – which again may be what the landlord and tenant have agreed. The merit of using an arbitrator is that it avoids going to the Land Court but it is still legally binding. For those wishing to have the tenant’s improvements determined by an arbitrator, the Tenant Farming Commissioner has provided a template note of agreement. 

Bob McIntosh explains further:

“These templates are for landlords and tenants who, following the correct notice procedures, have now agreed improvements. Where a landlord and tenant cannot agree, the tenant can apply to the Land Court to have the matter determined. In that instance I strongly recommend that parties seek legal advice.”

The template forms can be found on the Scottish Land Commission’s website:

Template Forms

Sheep, Shetland. Crown copyright. Photographer - Barrie Williams: Rural Matters.