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Stackyard News Dec 05

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Tenancy diversification scheme welcomed by TFA

The Tenant Farmers Association has welcomed the introduction of an Adjudication Scheme to handle disputes between landlords and tenants over proposals for farm diversification.

TFA Chief Executive George Dunn said “Against the background of Government policy to encourage farmers to diversify, the TFA has long been concerned that tenants do not have the same freedom as owner occupiers to look beyond traditional agriculture for their income. This means that they not only miss out on grant aid from the Government but also the alternative, economic opportunities available which could make their farm businesses more viable”.

A survey carried out by the TFA in 2002 showed that over half of landlords with tenants under traditional agreements and 80 percent of landlords with tenants on Farm Business Tenancies (FBTs) took a negative attitude to their tenants’ plans for diversified use of their let holdings.

Following TFA lobbying on the back of those survey results, the Tenancy Reform Industry Group (TRIG) recommended to Government in May 2003 that there should be a Code of Good Practice on how matters of diversification within farm tenancies should be handled. It also recommended that the Code should be supported by an Adjudication Scheme. This would be free at the point of use and oversee the implementation of the Code.

“Farm tenants can be hampered in their ability to diversify by the legislation governing agricultural tenancies, their individual contracts of tenancy and by the attitude of their landlords or landlords’ agents. Some of this opposition is unreasonable and an important role for the Scheme is to ensure that tenants who present diversification proposals to their landlords are treated reasonably” said Mr Dunn.

Whilst any decisions from adjudicators would not be binding, TRIG also asked that the Government commit to new legislation in this area to protect tenants if the Code and Adjudication Scheme were not working. In response, in December of 2003 the Government accepted that there was a problem and agreed to implement the TRIG recommendation and to follow through with legislation if matters did not improve.

“The TFA is keen to assist farm tenants to use the Scheme as it believes that it is important for securing greater rights for farm tenants now and in the long-term. Therefore if any tenants have a diversification scheme for which, unreasonably, they have already been refused consent by their landlord or are about to embark on a new proposal then they should join the TFA and we will then assist them through the process” said Mr Dunn.


The Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS) has won a competitive tender to run the Adjudication Scheme on behalf of DEFRA. The Scheme can consider cases where, despite the Code of Good Practice, agreement on a proposal for a diversification project or participation in an agri-environment scheme cannot be reached. The Scheme is voluntary and is free at point of use. Either landlord or tenant can apply if they wish an adjudicator to consider their case. The decision of the adjudicator will not be legally binding but it is hoped that parties shall abide by the adjudicator’s decision. Copies of the Code of Practice are available from the TFA or the DEFRA website.

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Tenant Farmers Association
Tenant Farmers Association