Tenant farming campaigners have expressed dismay that so few tenants have taken advantage of the one-off amnesty period for improvements.
With the amnesty period already past the half-way point, the Scottish Tenant Farmers Association (STFA) and Scottish Land Commission are stepping up pressure on tenants to act after they completed a national round of farm walks where they explained to farmers how to carry out the amnesty for tenant’s improvements.
These improvements can range from buildings, fencing and housing improvements to less obvious land improvement such as drainage.
STFA chairman Christopher Nicholson said the average amnesty would take at least nine months to complete, and warned tenants who are not getting the process under way in the next few months that they will struggle to get it finished by June 2020.
He said: “Completing the tenants’ amnesty is one of the most important tasks most tenants will undertake. Not only will this regularise and record improvements, but identifying tenant’s improvements and fixtures will be essential for the new rent test due to be rolled out in the next year or so.
“The amnesty has the full support of the whole industry, it has been widely publicised and is being actively encouraged by the Scottish Government so it is surprising that such a small number of tenants are taking advantage of it and we would urge all tenants to get involved before it is too late.”
Tenant Farming Commissioner Bob McIntosh added to the urgency call.
“The meetings have been a good opportunity to encourage tenant farmers to begin the amnesty process and to prepare a definitive list of improvements that may be eligible for compensation at waygo. Tenants may be able to claim for the improvements even if some procedures weren’t followed when they were initially made,” he said.
“It is really important to emphasise that this amnesty is only taking place for three years – and we’re half way through already. If tenant farmers have not started, they need to get started now.”