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How to Approach the Process and Pressures of a Rent Review
2010-07-26

The rent review process is very significant at this moment in time due to the implications of the Moonzie Case and how Single Farm Payment should be treated in the process.

Tom Oates; "Our aim is to ensure that tenant farmers are fully up to speed with the rent review process."

Tom Oates

To help the many farmers who are due for rent reviews in November 2010 or May 2011, The Scottish Tenant Farmers Association ( STFA) in conjunction with George F. White have announced today that they are holding two dedicated Rent Review Seminars in the Scottish Borders. The key speakers, both members of the STFA panel of agents are Tom Oates Partner of George F White and agricultural law expert Hamish Lean of Stronachs and advisor to the Scottish Tenant Farmers Association.

Beginning at 7.00pm these seminars are being held on 2nd August at The County Hotel Selkirk and 3rd August at The Cross Keys, Canonbie. Hamish and Tom will explain how the rent review process works and show tenants how to make best use of a rent review. This will include notices, timescales, and budgetary assessment and to ensure that the rent is only payable on what the landlord is providing in terms of fixed equipment they will discuss Tenant’s Improvements and how they should be treated. They will look at comparable evidence and how this should be assessed and used.

Earlier this year the first rent review case for 25 years, on Moonzie Farm, was decided upon by the Scottish Land Court, resulting in a rent reduction for the tenant. Much of the case hinged on the Court’s decision to remove the Single Farm Payment from the budget in assessing rent. This decision has now been appealed to the court of Session by the landlord leaving the industry in a state of indecision for the next year or so.

Reviewing the rent is always a tense time for any tenant especially when large inceases in rent are being sought by over-zealous land agents. STFA has long argued that the rent review should be seen as part of the every day working relationship between landlord and tenant and an opportunity to look at all aspects of the tenancy, such as the state and suitability of fixed equipment, not just the rent payable. Sadly this is often ignored in the controversy over rent.

Hamish is one of Scotland’s top agricultural law specialists, he is acting for the tenant involved in the Moonzie rent review case so has first hand knowledge of what has been happening at the Land Court. Hamish has a great ability to put and convey legal terms and information into layman’s terms. Tom Oates is experienced in landlord/tenant matters on both sides of the borders and has been helping many tenants in Dumfries-shire with their rent reviews.

Speaking in advance Tom Oates said: “Our aim is to ensure that tenant farmers are fully up to speed with the rent review process. Hamish will talk about the legal aspects of a rent review and the very important implications of recent Land Court judgement Moonzie Case. One area I will specifically look at and one which is very very important to all tenant farmers is The Single Farm Payment issue. “

Chairman of The STFA Angus McCall tells us why tenant farmers should attend: “ Never has it been more important for tenants to take professional advice in their negotiations with the landlord or factor. These meetings held by STFA and George F White, present an unique opportunity to hear top class experienced professionals give their views on how tenants should handle the delicate rent negotiations which lie ahead of them.”

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