The amnesty for improvements made by tenants in agricultural tenancies began on 13 June 2017. The amnesty lasts three years, so will expire on 12 June 2020. During these three years, a tenant can give notice to the landlord of any relevant improvement. Where that process is carried out correctly, the tenant will be entitled to compensation for those improvements at way-go, when the lease ends.
A landlord can only object to an amnesty notice on certain limited grounds, and must do so in the prescribed form within two months of having received it. If the landlord objects, the tenant can refer the matter to the Land Court within two months of the objection
The Tenant Farming Commissioner’s campaign to raise awareness
The Tenant Farming Commissioner, Bob McIntosh, has been re-advertising the amnesty recently because there is now less than two years to go before it ends, and going through the process can take time. The Tenant Farming Commissioner has supplemented his Code of Practice: Amnesty on Tenants’ Improvements with an additional note, addressing some issues arising over the first year of the amnesty.
Draft amnesty agreement available
The Central Association of Agricultural Valuers and the Scottish Agricultural Arbiters and Valuers Association have made a draft amnesty agreement available, which is a good guide for both tenants and landlords to the level of detail an amnesty agreement should provide. The draft agreement, and with an example of a schedule of improvements are available via the Scottish Land Commission website.
When filling in and signing the agreement, parties should make sure that they are complying with the rules on valid signing. For instance, no page should begin with “in witness whereof” at the top. There are other requirements as well.
For further information and advice on any aspect of the amnesty, on how to sign to make sure the agreement is valid, or on making an amnesty agreement for improvements not covered by the statutory regime, please contact Adèle Nicol.