Publication - Research and analysis

Tenant Farming Rent Review Survey: final report

Published: 4 Oct 2021

This report presents the findings from a Tenant Farming Rent Review Survey. The research explores tenant farmers’ views and experiences of the current process of rent reviews.

Tenant Farming Rent Review Survey: final report
Annex 1: Questionnaire

Annex 1: Questionnaire

Date

Ref:

Name

Address

Dear **Name**

Tenant Farmer Rent Review Experience

The Scottish Government wish to explore tenant farmers' views on the process of rent reviews.

We have planned this survey with the support of the STFA and NFUS.

We recognise that this is a busy time of year for all farmers, but we hope that you will be able to spare 10 minutes in the coming weeks to complete the survey. The results of the survey will be used to inform a review of the rent review process, so it is important we hear from as many tenant farmers as possible so that any subsequent changes to the current system are fully informed by your views and experiences.

If you would rather complete the survey online, you will need to use the reference number at the top of this letter and visit:

www.researchresource.co.uk/tenantfarmer.html

Please complete and return the questionnaire by Monday 24th May. If you need any help completing the questionnaire or information in any other format, please contact Research Resource on Freephone 0800 121 8987 or info@researchresource.co.uk

Please be assured that all your answers will be completely confidential and anonymous. It will not be possible to identify any individual or farm business in the final report. You will be asked at the end of the survey if you would like to receive a one-page summary of the results.

Thank you, in anticipation, for your time and input.

Yours sincerely

Alistair Henry Alistair Henry Agricultural Holdings & Women in Agriculture Team, Scottish Government

Lorna Shaw Director, Research Resource

Why are we carrying out this survey?

The Land Reform (Scotland) Act 2016 brought forward a number of recommended changes to current agricultural holdings legislation. One element was to introduce a new rent review process. However despite lengthy discussions with stakeholder organisations, it has not been possible to identify a fair and equitable process. The Scottish Government has therefore commissioned this survey to directly seek tenant farmers' views on the current process of rent reviews.

Whilst rent reviews should continue to be carried out as normal, an additional 'sense check' was introduced through an initiative by NFU Scotland (NFUS), Scottish Land & Estates (SL&E) and Scottish Tenant Farmers' Association (STFA) in 2014. This is included in the summary from the Tenant Farming Commissioner (TFC) below.

What will we do with the results?

The results of the survey will be published in a summary report. It will not be possible to identify any individual or farm business in the report. This data will be used for future policy development and potential Parliamentary evidence regarding making improvements to the current process.

Tenant Farming Commissioner's (TFC) Code of Practice on Rent Reviews

Where agreement cannot be reached by informal discussion, Section 13 of the Agricultural Holdings (Scotland) Act 1991 provides the basis for rent reviews. Rent must only be charged on land and fixed equipment provided by the landlord and must ignore any potential income contribution attributable to improvements and fixtures provided by the tenant.

A key principle is that a rent review should be regarded as a negotiation, based on an objective and transparent consideration of available evidence, with the aim of reaching an agreement that both parties regard as being fair and realistic. Proposals and counter proposals should contain sufficient detail to enable each party to understand and verify the other's calculations. Each party should be afforded sufficient time to give full and careful consideration to proposals and counter proposals tabled by the other.

When comparable rents are offered as evidence, they must be appropriately and transparently adjusted to account for differences between the holding being used for comparison and the holding where the rent is under review.

Where there have been no material changes in circumstances since the last review and none are anticipated, an adjustment to the rent to reflect an increase or decrease in the Consumer Price Index (CPI) % may be an appropriate way to proceed but this should not be considered as an automatic adjustment. A proposal to adjust the rent in line with inflation should be presented for discussion and dealt with in the same way as the other factors that are taken into account.

More detail can be found in the TFC's Code of Practice on rent reviews which you can access via this link: http://bit.ly/TFC-RentReviewCode

The survey should ideally be completed by the tenant of the farm/s. We would prefer it if agents did not complete it on behalf of the tenant.

Please confirm if you are:

  • 1. Tenant Farmer
  • 2. Part of the farm business
  • 3. A representative of the farm business
  • 4. Other (please specify)

Section 1: About the farm business

It would be helpful if you could begin by telling us about you and your farm business.

1. What types of agricultural tenancy(ies) do you have?

  • Secure 1991 Act agricultural tenancy – any tenancy you have for one year (365 days) or more, with full security of tenure and succession rights.
  • 1991 Act Limited Partnership – any partnership tenancy for one year (365 days) or more, where the tenant is a limited partnership
  • Short Limited Duration Tenancy (SLDT) – for between one and five years duration or continuing by agreement
  • Limited Duration Tenancy (LDT) – entered on or after Martinmas 2003 for ten years or more and with a specific end date
  • Modern Limited Duration Tenancy (MLDT) – entered into on or after 30 November 2017 for ten years or more and with a specific end date
  • Other (non-crofting) lease for more than 1 year
  • Don't know

2. Of the types of agricultural tenancies listed above, how many of each of the following sizes to you have?

  • Up to 20 ha
  • 21-50 ha
  • 51-100 ha
  • 101-200 ha
  • 201-500 ha
  • 501 ha or more

3. What type/s of farming is carried out on your farm(s)?

  • Specialist cereals
  • General cropping
  • Specialist horticulture & permanent crops
  • Specialist pigs
  • Specialist poultry
  • Specialist dairy
  • LFA Beef & Sheep
  • Non-LFA Beef & Sheep
  • Mixed holdings
  • General cropping; forage
  • Diversified activity
  • Other (please describe below)

If you have more than one lease, please answer the remainder of these questions thinking only of your main lease (by that we mean the lease which is most important to your business).

4. How many hectares does your main lease cover?

  • Up to 20 ha
  • 21-50 ha
  • 51-100 ha
  • 101-200 ha
  • 201-500 ha
  • 501 ha or more

5. What type of agricultural tenancy is this? TICK ONE ONLY

  • Secure 1991 Act agricultural tenancy
  • 1991 Act Limited Partnership
  • Short Limited Duration Tenancy (SLDT)
  • Limited Duration Tenancy (LDT)
  • Modern Limited Duration Tenancy (MLDT)
  • Other (non-crofting) lease for more than 1 year

6. How long have you or your family had your main tenancy – even if the type has changed?

  • 0-9 years
  • 10-24 years
  • 25-49 years
  • 50-100 years
  • More than 100 years
  • Unsure

7. Is your principal residence on the main tenancy?

  • Yes
  • No

8. What is your age group?

  • 16-25
  • 26-40
  • 41-60
  • 61-70
  • 71 and over

9. What is your sex?

  • Female
  • Male

10. Which of the following best describes your landlord for this lease?

  • Individual landowner
  • Landowner's Family Trust
  • Family business
  • Community ownership
  • Institution (e.g. Crown Estate or Church of Scotland)
  • A public sector organisation (e.g. Forestry and Land Scotland)
  • A limited company
  • Other (please describe below)
  • Don't know

11. Is your landlord or landlord trust related to you?

  • Yes
  • No

Section 2: Rent Reviews

12. Generally, how often is your rent reviewed on this main lease?

  • Every 3-5 years
  • Every 6-10 years
  • No set timescale
  • It has never been reviewed
  • Don't know

13. Who normally initiates the rent review process? Is it…

  • From the tenant side (including agents)
  • From the landlord side (including agents)

14. Who normally represents the tenant in the rent review? Is it…

  • I represent myself as the tenant
  • Another partner in the business
  • A representative of the business (e.g. a family member who is not a partner)
  • Your agent
  • Someone else (please describe below)
  • Rent hasn't been reviewed since the lease was first signed

15. Who normally represents the landlord in the rent review? Is it…

  • Landlord directly
  • Resident factor
  • Landlord's agent
  • Someone else (please describe below)
  • Rent hasn't been reviewed since the lease was first signed

16. Thinking about your rent reviews, where possible, please provide the dates (month and year) for these two events

  • Most recent or current review
  • Review prior to that

17. During the rent review process is your relationship with your landlord….?

  • Much better
  • Slightly better
  • No different
  • Slightly worse
  • Much worse
  • No rent review has taken place during the tenancy

Section 3: Rent review legislation

18. How familiar are you with the rent review legislation?

  • Very familiar
  • Fairly familiar
  • I am not very familiar; I rely on my agent or another person to guide me
  • I am not very familiar; I rely on other organisations such as STFA, NFUS
  • I was aware there was legislation but am not very familiar with it
  • I did not know there was legislation

19. How familiar are you with the Tenant Farming Commissioner's Code of Practice on rent reviews?

  • Very familiar
  • Fairly familiar
  • I am not very familiar; I rely on my agent to guide me
  • I am not very familiar; I rely on other organisations such as STFA, NFUS
  • I was aware there was a Code but am not very familiar with it
  • I did not know there was a Code

Section 4: Disagreements (legal or not) during the rent review process

20. Have you had any significant disagreements with your current landlord during the rent review process on the following issues?

If you have not had any significant disagreements, please tick here and go to Q22

  • Rent review
  • Non-payment of rents
  • Fixed equipment
  • Housing
  • Diversification
  • Conflicts with other business interests
  • Issues around assignation
  • Issues around succession
  • Anything else (if Ticked, please describe below)

21. Did you use any of the following options to resolve your dispute?

  • Talked with my landlord to find a solution
  • Talked with a professional advisor to help find a solution
  • Asked the Tenant Farming Commissioner to assist
  • Sought legal intervention
  • Used Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) (includes mediation, arbitration and expert determination)
  • Used the Land Court process
  • Other means of resolution (please describe below)
  • Have not tried to resolve dispute

Section 5: Recent experience with the rent review process

22. Thinking of the range of aspects of your most recent rent review process, how satisfied or dissatisfied are you with the following aspects of the process…?

  • Frequency
  • Who carries them out
  • How they are carried out
  • Cost/ expense
  • Time involved

23. Overall, how satisfied or dissatisfied would you say you are with the whole rent review process?

  • Very satisfied
  • Fairly satisfied
  • Neither satisfied nor dissatisfied
  • Fairly dissatisfied
  • Very dissatisfied

24. Overall, how easy or difficult do you find the rent review process?

  • Very easy
  • Fairly easy
  • Neither easy nor difficult
  • Fairly difficult
  • Very difficult

25. Thinking about all your answers to the questions above, what could be done to improve your experience of any aspect of the current rent review process?

Section 6: Feedback

26. Would you like to receive a summary of the survey results in August?

  • Yes, by post
  • Yes, by email
  • No

If Yes, please provide your name and address/ email:

  • Name
  • Address
  • Town
  • Postcode
  • Email

If you decide not to complete Section 7, please go to the final page to find instructions on how to send your completed survey to Research Resource.

Section 7: Optional Equalities information

These additional questions are voluntary. If there are any questions you do not want to answer, please just leave blank and go on to the next one.

The Scottish Government is required to collect equality evidence to meet requirements of The Equality Act 2010 (Specific Duties) (Scotland) Regulations 2012. This information is not mandatory and will be used for statistical and research purposes only.

27. Do you have a physical or mental health condition or illness lasting or expected to last 12 months or more?

  • Yes
  • No

28. If 'Yes', does your condition or illness reduce your ability to carry-out day-to-day activities?

  • Yes, a lot
  • Yes, a little
  • Not at all

29. What is your religion?

  • None
  • Church of Scotland
  • Roman Catholic
  • Other Christian
  • Muslim
  • Buddhist
  • Sikh
  • Jewish
  • Hindu
  • Pagan
  • Another religion, please write in

30. Which of the following options best describes how you think of yourself?

  • Heterosexual / Straight
  • Gay / Lesbian
  • Bisexual
  • Other

31. What is your ethnic group? Choose ONE section from A-F, then tick ONE box which best describes your ethnic group or background.

A White

  • Scottish
  • Other British
  • Irish
  • Polish
  • Gypsy / Traveller
  • Roma
  • Showman / Showwoman
  • Other white ethnic group, please write in:

B Mixed or multiple ethnic groups

  • Any mixed or multiple ethnic groups, please write in:

C Asian, Scottish Asian or British Asian

  • Pakistani, Scottish Pakistani or British Pakistani
  • Indian, Scottish Indian or British Indian
  • Bangladeshi, Scottish Bangladeshi or British Bangladeshi
  • Chinese, Scottish Chinese or British Chinese
  • Other, please write in:

D African, Scottish African or British African

  • Please write in (for example, NIGERIAN, SOMALI):

E Caribbean or Black

  • Please write in (for example, SCOTTISH CARIBBEAN, BLACK SCOTTISH):

F Other ethnic group

  • Arab, Scottish Arab or British Arab
  • Other, please write in (for example, SIKH, JEWISH):

Thank you very much for taking the time to complete the questionnaire.

Please now return it to Research Resource in the reply paid envelope provided (no stamp required) no later than Monday 24th May.

If you have misplaced the envelope, please contact Research Resource on 0141 641 6410 and we will send you a replacement envelope.


Contact

Email: socialresearch@gov.scot