News
22nd Feb

2013

Media Release 02 – The Duke of Northumberland’s Estate Must Reconsider Its Aggressive Approach

The Tenant Farmers Association has expressed its concern about reports from the Duke of Northumberland’s estate of an aggressive approach being taken on farm rent reviews.
TFA National Chairman, Jeremy Walker said “There is no justification for any landlord to take an aggressive approach and estates like the Duke of Northumberland’s should be looking for sustainable solutions for both landlords and tenants based on fair and equitable negotiations”.

“We have seen increases in farm rents across all sectors over the past year, and there is strong evidence of settlements achieved at reasonable levels when both sides engage in active discussions and make reasoned arguments, working within the rent review framework of the relevant Act either the Agricultural Holdings Act 1986 or the Agricultural Tenancies Act 1995,” said Mr Walker.

“Rents need to be looked at on a case by case basis, they need to reflect reality and account for the limitations of the farms.  The Agricultural Holdings Act 1986 provides a set of rules when it comes to assessing the rent properly payable which must not be ignored by either party.  In every case there needs to be an understanding of market conditions, in terms of rents being paid on comparable holdings as well as profits that can be achieved”, said Mr Walker.

“Landlords should take note of the difficult farming conditions of last year and the continued struggle this year following the effects of the poor weather of 2012.  Farmers across the country are faced with problems including poor crop establishment as well as quantity and quality issues associated with last years harvest, rising input and feed costs which is putting pressure on farm margins across all sectors.  Tenant farmers would much rather be making good profits and paying good rents to their landlords, however landlords must accept that in tough times the ability of tenants to pay increased rents will be severely limited,” said Mr Walker.

“Rent Review negotiations may also provide opportunities to look at the wider picture and discuss matters of mutual concern in connection with the future management of the holding, further highlighting the need for sensible negotiation between two parties,” said Mr Walker.

“Tenants should not feel browbeaten and forced into settling and it is essential that tenants seek advice about their individual circumstances before agreeing to anything.  The TFA can provide essential advice, information and support required by tenants faced with unrealistic rent review proposals,” said Mr Walker.

“I would strongly urge the Northumberland Estate and other landlords at this time to take a realistic approach and allow rational negotiations to take place, in order to achieve a mutual settlement, rather than bringing unnecessary and inappropriate stress on tenants” said Mr Walker.

end

Ref:  MR02

Date: 22 February 2013

Notes for Editors:

For further information contact:
Katy Fox, TFA Adviser on 0118 930 6130
Larissa Harmsworth, TFA Marketing Executive on 0118 930 6130

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