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New guide for tenant farmers and landlords

The Tenant Farming Commissioner has issued a new guide covering general statutory compliance on agricultural holdings. Intended as a useful tool to summarise general statutory regulations and how to comply with them, the guide is for tenant farmers, landlords and their agents.

It aims to help interested parties understand their responsibilities with regard to statutory obligations and suggests pragmatic ways to fulfil these. The guide provides practical information on who is likely to be responsible for which aspects of statutory compliance, and what action is required to be compliant with the regulations.

The guidance is not about the normal legal obligations of landlord and tenant with regard to the repair and maintenance of fixed equipment – this will be covered in a separate guide later in the year – but covers additional obligations around inspections and certifications. It provides information on current statutory requirements and aims to help parties to understand where responsibilities lie and what actions they require to take.

Tenant Farming Commissioner, Bob McIntosh, said:

“Operating a farm involves many responsibilities and ensuring that everything is in order can be challenging – particularly in the tenanted sector where responsibilities are split between landlord and tenant. 

“Statutory compliance requirements on agricultural holdings can be confusing and lead to potential misunderstandings between landlords and tenants. It can also be difficult for landlords and tenants to keep abreast of requirements, particularly as tenancy agreements can remain in place for many years, but the regulations for agricultural buildings and dwellings included in agricultural leases are often subject to change.”

The guide includes an easy-to-navigate table which outlines the general approach most landlords and tenants choose to take. Although it notes that other arrangements can often be agreed between different parties, the guide is a way to encourage open discussion between tenants and landlords on who is going to do what and when. 

A checklist at the end of this guide will also help both landlords and tenants to keep their records up to date.

“I would encourage landlords and tenants to discuss their compliance requirements and agree who is going to carry out each aspect. It is essential that certification is kept in a safe place and copied to the other party as proof that the relevant checks have been carried out,” Bob McIntosh said.

“Regulations are regularly updated and should be checked at source, but I hope this guide will be a handy tool for all parties to clarify their own circumstances and responsibilities.”

The guide and more information can be found on the Scottish Land Commission website:

TFC Guide to General Statutory Compliance on Agricultural Holdings

Lambs in a field on the shore of Loch Ness