15 September 1995

Marriage value could lift rents

AGRICULTURAL rents could rise as a result of a recent Court of Appeal decision, claims Exeter-based chartered surveyor Hugh Townsend.

His comments follow a case (Childers v Anker) which now "places a binding precedent on arbitrators to take into account marriage value when conducting rent reviews".

Such marriage value may arise where the tenant uses excess cottages on the farm to house employees who work for him on another unit, or where spare buildings are used to service a separate holding of which he is also the tenant or owner.

"Coupled with the more bullish agricultural economy, the ruling would help to raise rents across the board," says Mr Townsend.

But Roderick Mackay, adviser to the Tenant Farmers Assoc-iation, says he cannot see the ruling being a milestone for rents. "Marriage value can be taken into account, but how much weight any arbitrator decides to give it is for him to decide." &#42