Agricultural landlords to take ‘constructive’ approach to tenant farming housing improvements

Scottish Land & Estates has said that agricultural landlords will work constructively with the Scottish Government and others to improve housing stock on tenanted farms.

Cabinet secretary Fergus Ewing and housing minister Kevin Stewart held a summit on the issue with industry stakeholder bodies this week following the publication of a survey on the condition of agricultural tenancy housing.

Sarah Jane Laing, executive director of Scottish Land & Estates, said: “What was clear at the summit was that there is agreement that we need to work together to find a way to improve some of the housing on tenanted farms.

“The majority of tenants and landlords stated in the survey that the condition of housing was either excellent, very good or acceptable. However, the fact that 14% of tenants described their houses as being in poor or very poor condition shows there is an issue that has to be addressed.”

At the moment farmhouses are not covered by housing legislation but the Scottish Government plans to take steps to ensure they meet the basic standard for living accommodation by 2022 and the higher standard demanded in the private rented sector five years later.

“Everyone should have a safe, good quality home and that is a shared objective that needs to be achieved without damage to farm businesses. We look forward to working with government and industry to achieve a satisfactory outcome,” added Ms Laing. “Given the complexity of agricultural tenancy law surrounding farmhouses and repairing obligations, dealing with the issue may not be straightforward but hopefully we can agree a way forward.”

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