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New Code aims to ensure tenant farming rent reviews are fair, objective and evidence-based

Tenant farmers and their landlords can now get advice on how best to conduct rent reviews in a new Code published today by the Tenant Farming Commissioner for Scotland.

The Code of Practice on Conducting Rent Reviews is designed to help tenants and landlords reach agreement via transparent and objective consideration of all the relevant facts and circumstances. Rent reviews for agricultural holdings should be conducted as a negotiation not as ‘take it or leave it’ approach, the Code says.

It describes the legal basis for rent reviews and provides a practical, step-by-step approach to conducting a rent review. The Code includes: 

•    The key principles that should underpin a rent review 
•    Relevant factors that should be considered in rent reviews, alongside those that should be disregarded
•    Guidelines on how to initiate and conduct a rent review
•    A suggested timetable for negotiations
•    Valid sources of evidence that should be used to underpin a review.

It also includes suggestions on how to resolve disagreements between the parties and how parties can make a complaint about breaches of the Code.

Speaking about the newly published Code, Bob McIntosh, Tenant Farming Commissioner, said: “If rent reviews are not handled appropriately they can become a source of dispute and disagreement, and can even permanently sour the relationship between landlord and tenant. 

“At the end of the day, the aim is to determine the rent at which the holding might reasonably be expected to be let in the open market by a willing landlord to a willing tenant after taking account of certain factors.

“The new Code offers a series of practical steps to follow, to ensure that rent reviews are evidence-based and conducted fairly to reach an outcome that’s reasonable to both parties.”

Hay bales in a field (Courtesy of Rural Matters)