One of Scotland’s biggest landlords has been reprimanded for failing to follow best practice in its negotiations with farm tenants earlier this year.
A review into the way Buccleuch Estate handled terminations of Limited Partnerships and a Short Limited Duration tenancy found it had not acted illegally, but some of the discussions and negotiations could have been handled more sensitively.
Scotland’s Tenant Farming Commissioner (TFC), Bob McIntosh, issued his findings yesterday and said some valuable learning points had come from investigating five cases on the estate which have relevance for all landlords and tenants.
He added: “The ending of non-secure tenancies has the potential to be a sensitive issue, particularly where past practices by the landlord may have led tenants, and general partners in a limited partnershp, to feel that they have more security of tenure than is actually provided.
“When entering into such arrangements, and throughout the duration of the agreement, it is important that landlords and tenants are clear with each other about their expectations and aspirations for the future and that the outcome of these discussions is recorded so that unpleasant surprises for either party are avoided.”
Mr McIntosh said that it was important that when a landowner’s actions were likely to have major implications for communities and individual tenants, they should have a good communications and engagement plan.
Scottish Tenant Farmers Association chairman Christopher Nicholson
said: “It is not enough for agents to simply stay within the law, they also need to act in a fair and reasonable manner with sensitivity for the needs of other parties.”
Buccleuch chief executive John Glen said the estate took its responsibilities to, and relationships with, tenant farmers very seriously and it regretted that any tenant felt their case was not handled sensitively.