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Tenant farming reforms published
Measures designed to complete the package of reforms to the tenant farming sector were published yesterday in the Agricultural Holdings (Amendment) (Scotland) Bill.
The Bill makes changes to rent review arrangements to ban "upward only" and "landlord only" initiated rent reviews as well as making it easier for grandchildren to inherit farm tenancies.
The Bill will
Extend the definition of "near relative" (being the class of successors who are entitled to serve counter notice to a notice to quit) to include a grandchild of a deceased tenant
Prohibit lease terms which provide for "upward only" or "landlord only" initiated rent reviews in Limited Duration Tenancies
Provide that changes in rent resulting from the exercise or revocation of the option to tax by a landlord, or a change in the rate of VAT do not qualify as a "variation of rent", which would prevent parties from seeking a determination from the Land Court on the rent for a period of three years
Rural Affairs Secretary Richard Lochhead said:
"The Scottish Government is committed to a healthy and vibrant tenant farming sector and is grateful to the Tenant Farming Forum for the work it does to develop solutions to issues that affect the industry.
"Scotland needs to ensure that its land is used productively and innovatively. For that, we need to ensure as much agricultural land as possible is made available to let and that opportunities exist for young people to enter into farming."
Phil Thomas, Chairman of the Tenant Farming Forum, said:
"I know that our members were disappointed not to see all of the Forum's recommendations implemented in the last Parliament but that they are pleased to see the government bringing forward this Bill that will implement the outstanding recommendations."
At the end of 2009, the Tenant Farming Forum made a number of recommendations designed to increase the likelihood of more agricultural land being made available to let. Most of these recommendations were included in the Public Service Reform (Agricultural Holdings) Order passed by Parliament in March 2011. This bill would implement the two outstanding recommendations, as well as a technical provision relating to the treatment of changes in VAT that has also been agreed with the Tenant Farming Forum.
Agricultural Holdings (Amendment) (Scotland) Bill