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Tenant Farmers Urged to Take Up Improvements Amnesty

‘Once it’s gone, it’s gone’ states Union President

NFU Scotland is urging tenant farmers to make use of the ‘waygo’ amnesty, first introduced in 2017.

The amnesty, included in the Land Reform Act (Scotland) 2016, started in June 2017 and runs until 2020. Tenant farmers across Scotland now have less than two years left to consider if they have improvements that they wish to notify their landlord about, under the amnesty arrangements.

Today (27 August) marks the start of a week-long social media and press campaign by industry stakeholders to emphasise the importance of the amnesty.

In detail, it allows tenants to rectify any outstanding issues around past improvements they’ve carried out, which should qualify for consideration at waygo – the date at which a tenancy is terminated - despite missing notices or consents.  It does not apply where the landlord objected to the original improvement notice or the improvement was carried out in a manner significantly different from the original notice. The amnesty may be essential when it comes to other aspects of the Land Reform (Scotland) Act 2016, particularly rent reviews and relinquishment of 1991 Act tenancies.

A Code of Practice, amongst the first to be produced by the Tenant Farming Commissioner, Bob McIntosh together with stakeholders including NFU Scotland explains how the amnesty works and how landlords and tenants can work together in a fair and transparent manner to agree a definitive list of tenants’ improvements which may be eligible for compensation at waygo.

NFU Scotland President Andrew McCornick said: “Once it’s gone, it’s gone!  And with only two years remaining of the amnesty, I urge all tenants to decide as soon as they can whether the amnesty is appropriate for them.

“It is a one-off opportunity for tenants to ensure that past improvements are eligible for compensation at waygo so use it or lose it.”   

Notes to Editors

  • To aid tenant farmers and landlords with the amnesty process agricultural arbiters have developed model forms of a Tenancy Agreement and an example of how to list and describe improvement items to include as a schedule in the Agreement.  
  • The model forms and the Code of Practice can be found on the Land Commission’s website www.landcommission.gov.scot/tenant-farming and at https://landcommission.gov.scot/wp-content/uploads/2018/01/AMNESTY-CODE_web-Jan-2018.pdf 
  • The definition of an improvement is broad and includes any buildings including houses and cottages. It also includes improvements to:
    • land such as ditches, drainage, removal of stones and other obstacles to cultivation 
    • field boundaries
    • access improvements
  • The amnesty notice must set out the details of the improvement and why it is fair and equitable for compensation to be payable at termination of the tenancy, even though the correct procedure may not have been followed at the time the improvement was made.  

Ends

Contact Bob Carruth on 0131 472 4006

Author: Bob Carruth

Date Published:

News Article No.: 119/18


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