TFA Media Release MR20/14 – TFA Calls for Landlords to Give Respite to Farm Tenants Facing Covid-19 Difficulties

The Tenant Farmers Association (TFA), is calling on all landlords to give respite to those farmers with whom they have land occupation agreements and who are experiencing difficulties as a result of the current Covid-19 pandemic.

TFA National Chairman  Mark Coulman, said “There will be many tenant farmers and others who farm land they do not own, who will be impacted directly or indirectly by the control measures put in place by the Government.  In addition, some will be specifically impacted by the virus”.

“A significant number of farming families rely on income earned off the holding, either through employment or self-employment which, in many cases, will have dried up.  Others who are involved in food service supply chains may find themselves in difficulty.  Their processors and purchasers may struggle to find retail outlets for the farm produce they handle,” said Mr Coulman.

All landlords should seek to act reasonably in offering rent abatements or deferrals, where needed.  They should call a halt to current disputes, including all rent reviews and in providing flexibility when tenancies are beginning or ending.

“It’s absolutely critical that all parties, however acrimonious relationships may have been, pull together on this one to reduce anxiety, poor mental health and to ensure there’s an economically viable industry.  Landlords must not use this to forget the challenges the winter has presented to farmers, and the medium-term impact this will have. It’s likely to never have been more important to have a thriving tenanted sector producing food and caring for the environment,” said Mr Coulman.

“We are not asking for landlords to waive rents across the board.  We are simply asking that landlords act sensitively and benevolently if individuals are unable to pay their rent.  I also hope that landlords would see the sense in putting off rent reviews into next year.  We will be advising our members to do the same where these have been instigated by tenants,” said Mr Coulman.

“Some people who have been offered new tenancies may be able to move into those new arrangements without difficulty.  Others may need more time.  We would ask landlords to be flexible, particularly where some delay may be required.  Landlords with tenants coming to the end of their agreements, or under notice to quit, should also consider whether more time will be needed for individuals to vacate their holdings, particularly where a dwelling is involved,” said Mr Coulman.

“We acknowledge that the current situation will also be impacting upon landlords.  Tenants who remain able to pay their rent should continue to do so.  However, we need to ensure that there is an opportunity for dialogue, flexibility and realism in situations where, through no fault of their own, tenants are simply unable to meet the rental demands of their agreements,” said Mr Coulman.


Ref:  MR 20/14

Date: 24 March 2020

Notes for Editors:

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