Now is not the time for rent hikes: TFA

The Tenant Farmers Association (TFA) is applauding the decision by the majority of its members’ landlords to abstain from rent hikes in the normal round of spring farm rent reviews. Despite this generally favourable position, the TFA is concerned to hear a number of individual cases where landlords and national firms of agents are pushing ahead with unsustainable rent demands.

“With spring rent review dates fast approaching, we are hearing some cases were landlords are pressing tenants to agree to rent increases and threatening arbitration if agreement cannot be reached. Each case needs to be looked at on its merits, but we are advising our members not to agree to unnecessary rent increases,” said Mr Dunn.

“The rent review date is only the point at which either the landlord and tenant have to agree or an application has been made for the appointment of an arbitrator. The application for an appointment of an arbitrator does not mean that the dispute will proceed to arbitration. In well over 90% of the cases where an arbitrator is appointed, rents are still agreed between the parties. The application for the appointment merely extends the time available for negotiations,” said Mr Dunn.

TFA Chief Executive George Dunn said “With all of the current uncertainty surrounding Brexit and future farm policy, now is not the time to be seeking increases in farm rents and it is pleasing to hear that most landlords are responding positively to calls for rent reviews to be put on hold for at least a further year.”

“With Brexit now just a year away, the right time to be looking at farm rents would be the autumn of 2019 or the spring of 2020”, said Mr Dunn.

“Rather than having a sterile debate about levels of rent the TFA is encouraging both landlords and tenants to be engaging in dialogue to put in place plans for the post Brexit era. Change is coming and is coming fast and landlords and tenants must have a shared vision for addressing that change into the long term,” said Mr Dunn

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About The Author

John Swire - Deputy editor of Agronomist and Arable Farmer as well as responsibility for the Agronomist and Arable Farmer and Farm Business websites. After 17 years milking cows on the family farm John started writing about agriculture in 1998 and has since written for a variety of publications and has developed a wide circle of contacts within the industry. When not working John is a season ticket holder at Stoke City and also of late has become a fitness freak, listing cycling, swimming and walking as his exercises of choice.