Modernisation of the list of improvements to agricultural holdings

  • Insight

14 February 2019

We previously reported that the Tenant Farming Commissioner had recommended various changes to modernise the statutory list of improvements to agricultural holdings. Changes to the legislation have now been made and these are set out below.

What is the list of improvements?

During the course of an agricultural tenancy, the tenant may make improvements to the land. Compensation can be claimed for certain improvements from the landlord at the end of the tenancy if the correct procedure has been followed. Qualifying improvements are listed in schedule 5 of the Agricultural Holdings (Scotland) Act 1991.

Schedule 5 is in three parts:

• the first is a list of improvements which require the consent of the landlord;

• the second is improvements in respect of which the tenant must give prior notice to the landlord (and following the tenant’s notice, the landlord could object to the improvement);

• the third is improvements which require neither the consent of nor that notice be given to the landlord.

The modernised list

The changes came into force on 10 January 2019 and do not affect any improvements which were begun before that date. If you are in any doubt over which version of the schedule applies to your circumstances, we can advise you on this. (Note that the position for improvements begun before 25 September 1991 is different.)

No changes have been made to part 1 (improvements for which consent is required). The changes to parts 2 and 3 are set out in the table below.

Schedule 5, part 2: Improvements for which notice is required

Previous Wording (applicable from 25 September 1991)Amended or New Wording (applicable from 10 January 2019)

Paragraph 17

Provision or laying on of electric light or power, including the provision of generating plant, fixed motors, writing systems, switches and plug sockets.

 

Installation, provision, distribution or storage of electricity, gas, power, heat or light.

Paragraph 22

Provision of means of sewage disposal. 

 

Provision of means of sewage, waste or pollutant disposal, or provision of means of managing water on land.

 

No previous version

Paragraph 23A

Erection of structures for the management or storage of slurries or manures.

 

No previous version

Paragraph 23B

Provision of means of storing silage.

 

No previous version 

Paragraph 23C

Works to dwellings.

Schedule 5, part 3: Improvements for which no consent or notice is required

Previous Wording (applicable from 25 September 1991)Amended or New Wording (applicable from 10 January 2019)

Paragraph 29

 

Eradication of bracken, whins or broom growing on the holding at the commencement of the tenancy and, in the case of arable land, removal of tree roots, boulders, stones or other like obstacles to cultivation.

 

Eradication of bracken, whins or broom growing on the holding at the commencement of the tenancy.

 

No previous version 

Paragraph 29A

Removal of tree roots, boulders, stones or other similar obstacles to cultivation from arable land or from permanent grass land.

Paragraph 30

Application to land of purchased manure and fertiliser, whether organic or inorganic. 

 

Application to land of soil improvers, conditioners, digestates, manure or fertiliser, whether organic or inorganic.

For more information on the modernised list, or for advice on agricultural tenancies, please contact our rural land and business team.

For more information on this topic, contact