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TFA Seeking Good Landlord Tenant Relationships

The Tenant Farmers Association has began its annual round of formal consultations with some of the country’s leading landlords of agricultural land.

TFA National Chairman, Stephen Wyrill said;
“Maintaining good relations between landlords and tenants is vital for a vibrant landlord tenant system in agriculture and it is therefore important that there is an understanding of each side’s position. Our annual, formal liaison meetings with the major institutional landlords provide an opportunity for that key dialogue. It allows the TFA to understand changes in estate strategy and in turn we are able to raise matters that have been communicated to us from grass roots TFA members”.

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Meetings so far have involved the Church Commissioners, Duchy of Cornwall and the Country Land and Business Association which represents the interests of thousands of landowners up and down the country. Future meetings are to be held with the Duchy of Lancaster, Ministry of Defence, National Trust and ACES which represents the County Council Smallholding Estates.

“Ongoing discussions are always taking place but having a formal meeting on an annual basis is a good discipline to have. Issues being discussed include rent reviews, which on some estates have been keenly fought this year, diversification, trends in farm enterprises and mechanisms for achieving longer term Farm Business Tenancies.

With the average length of term on new tenancies only four years, we are keen to understand how landlords can be encouraged to let for longer terms of ten years or more and what barriers exist to achieving that goal,” said Mr Wyrill.

“The tradition of these annual meetings goes back for a number of years and we genuinely believe that they are useful to both parties. We are therefore disappointed that we have not yet been able to secure agreement to a meeting with the Crown Estate which believes it appropriate to postpone the meeting for a year. It would be disappointing if we were unable to meet with the Crown Estate on a formal basis this year having done so every year for the past 15 years at least,” said Mr Wyrill.

“Given the difficult economic conditions in agriculture over the recent past, with all sectors hitting a low point in returns, we will be looking for these institutional landlords to be appreciative of the impact this will have had on their farm tenants. Of course landlords too need to make a return but given the long term nature of land ownership we would hope that these institutional landlords will take a lead in the sector to take a long term view,” said Mr Wyrill.

“Our door is always open to meet with other estates who would welcome an open dialogue on issues of mutual concern,” said Mr Wyrill.


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