Definitive ‘fixed equipment’ guide created to help reduce tenant farmer and landlord disagreements
A first-of-its-kind document has been created to help address disputes between tenant farmers and landlords over the replacement and upkeep of fixed equipment.
Created by Scotland’s Tenant Farming Commissioner (TFC), this new guide outlines key issues and ways to avoid problems – as well as making clear the responsibilities of both tenant farmers and their landlords on fixtures such as sheds, walls and fanks.
Bob McIntosh, who has been in the role since 2016, hopes that the 14-page guide will give clarity and confidence to those addressing issues regarding fixed equipment and help them to avoid future problems.
In his role as TFC – part of the Scottish Land Commission – Bob is contacted regularly by those seeking clarity over obligations, with items such as slate roofs on traditional steadings and old field drainage regular sources of contention.
Bob said: “All tenancies place an obligation on the landlord to provide fixed equipment at the start of the lease necessary for the purposes for which the holding is let.
“Most leases place a duty on the tenant to maintain fixed equipment and to leave in a condition they were received, allowing for fair wear and tear. Given there’s no hard and fast definition of wear and tear or the point when deterioration necessitates renewal rather than further repair, it’s easy to see why disagreement is common.
“I hope this guide provides some clear ways to avoid dispute as it gives both landlords and tenants clear, practical advice on best practice and should be read alongside the TFC’s existing Code of Practice on the Maintenance of the Condition of Tenanted Holdings.”
The Guide to Fixed Equipment on Agricultural Holdings in Scotland provides a summary of legislation relating to fixed equipment in agricultural tenancies and provides valuable information for both tenants and landlords in relation to fixed equipment in secure and fixed duration tenancies.
It provides simple ways to avoid disagreement. Fundamentally all parties should ensure there is an agreed schedule and description of the condition of fixed equipment is provided by the landlord, ideally supported by timestamped photography. This acts as a baseline for all future discussions – and missing this fundamental step weakens the case for tenants pursuing a claim and makes it impossible for landlords to pursue a claim at the end of the lease for dilapidations arising from inadequate maintenance by the tenant.
Discussions around maintenance or renewal will be greatly aided if both landlords and tenants keep good records of works carried out on fixed equipment.
Finally, landlords and tenants should meet periodically to review the state of the fixed equipment, to identify where repairs, maintenance, renewal or replacement are required, and to agree where the responsibility lies for an agreed schedule of works. This of course will be greatly aided by a record of condition and good documentation of work carried out.
For further information on responsibilities and how to avoid problems, the guide is available at this link.
Alternatively, get in touch directly with Bob to discuss anything particular to your own circumstances at firstname.lastname@example.org.