News
8th Oct

2018

Media Release – MR18/37 – Perfect Time for Government to Address Long-Standing Tenanted Farm Issues

The Tenant Farmers Association (TFA) is calling for the Government to turn rhetoric into action by bringing forward much needed changes to the legislative and fiscal environments within which agricultural tenancies operate.

 

TFA Chief Executive George Dunn said, “The confluence of the Agriculture Bill and the Government’s annual Budget Statement due at the end of this month, provides a rare opportunity for the Government to reformat the basis upon which deals are done between landlords and tenants in the agricultural sector.  The aims should be to promote long-term resilience, sustainability and opportunities for progression”.

 

The Agricultural Tenancies Act 1995 was brought in with the confidence, at the time, that the open market would deliver sustainable outcomes without the need for the complicated structure imposed by the previous legislative environment.  However, nearly a quarter of a century later, the outcomes are far from sustainable.  This is due to the substantial imbalance of demand over supply.  Landlords can dictate the terms they are willing to offer land to let without having to consider the wider benefits to society of longer and more open terms in their agreements.

 

New farm tenancies offer too little security.  Around 85% of all new agricultural tenancies are let for five years or less.  Looking only at those tenancies including a house and buildings, the average length of term falls short of 10 years.  These terms do not provide a reasonable basis to promote resilient, sustainable farm businesses.  This is compounded by the imposition of other restrictive terms on user clauses, repairs and rent.

 

Several institutional landlords are beginning to use 10 years as a minimum term for many of their leases and research conducted by the CLA shows a tendency towards longer terms amongst its membership.  However, the overall statistics show we have a long way to go.

 

“We need the Government to take its responsibilities seriously.  The Tenancy Reform Industry Group has provided a raft of sensible, legislative changes which should form part of the Agriculture Bill.  The TFA has also given the Chancellor of the Exchequer a package of taxation changes that he could introduce, without disturbing the public finances, giving a disincentive to shorter term lettings, maximise opportunities for sustainable growth and creating the basis for strong environmental outcomes,” said Mr Dunn.

 

Ref:  MR 18/37                                                                                   Date: 08 October 2018

 

Notes for Editors:

 

For further information contact George Dunn on 07721 998961 or Julia Meadows, TFA Communications and Events Co-ordinator on 0118 930 6130 or 07887 777157.

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