Views of Tenant Farmers and Agricultural Landlords on Aspects of the Agricultural Tenancy System

Results from surveys of tenant farmers and agricultural landlords on aspects of the tenancy system such as rent review, fixed equipment, diversification and tenancy relationships.


7.1 Eighty per cent of tenant farmers reported that they rent-in a single lease of at least one year, and just over half (54%) of tenant farmers' main or only lease covers an area of less than 80 hectares. Tenant farmers are most likely to rent-in a lease for a whole farm, rather than land only, or land with limited fixed equipment, and are more likely to have a Secure 1991 Act tenancy than another type of leasing arrangement. Similar proportions of landlords reported that they rent-out one (44%) or three or more (41%) leases. Landlords' main lease was most likely to have an area of 80-499 hectares. Landlords were most likely to rent-out land with limited fixed equipment, and were also most likely to be renting-out using a Secure 1991 Act tenancy.

7.2 Reflective of findings from previous research, both tenant farmers and landlords had a broadly positive perception of their relationship with each other, and towards specific aspects of their relationship. Tenant farmers were also positive towards their relationship with their landlord's representatives in cases where such a person exists. Both groups were most likely to say that tenancy issues are discussed face-to-face more than once per year. While both tenant farmers and landlords showed similar patterns of response in terms of when the most recent rent review was completed, different pictures emerged in terms of both the frequency with which rent reviews occurred and the identity of the person who carries out the review. The median rent per acre per year reported was £43 by tenant farmers, and £38 by landlords.

7.3 Both audiences were as likely to report that where fixed equipment was included in a lease, this included agricultural buildings, farmhouse, and tenant's improvements. However, landlords were more likely to perceive fixed equipment included in the lease as being fit for purpose (91%) than were tenant farmers (59%), and were more than twice as likely to consider their investment in fixed equipment as 'satisfactory' or 'more than satisfactory' than tenants' perceptions of this level of investment. One in ten tenant farmers reported having served their landlord with a tenant's improvement notice.

7.4 Less than one-third of tenant farmers reported some kind of diversification activity on their farm business, with wayleave arrangements most commonly reported (by 17% of tenant farmers and a quarter of landlords). The majority of tenant farmers with diversification reported that they had sole-funded this.

7.5 While a minority of tenant farmers and landlords had experienced a major dispute with their landlord/tenant, where disputes had occurred they tended to be related to rent reviews (15% of tenant farmers and 20% of agricultural landlords had experienced this) fixed equipment (9% of tenant farmers and 16% of agricultural landlords had experienced this) or conflicts with other business interests including sporting interests (8% of tenant farmers and 15% of agricultural landlords had experienced this). Tenant farmers who had diversified their business were slightly more likely to have had experience of a dispute than those who had not diversified.

7.6 Those who had experienced a major dispute with their landlord/tenant were most likely to seek to resolve the dispute either by talking to the landlord/tenant directly or by seeking advice from a professional.

7.7 Only small numbers of tenant farmers and landlords had experienced waygo on a previous tenancy. Of those who had gone through the process, overall, both tenant farmers and landlords said that the process was easy and were satisfied with the outcome.


Email: Liz Hawkins

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