By Robert Harris

MANY Lady Day rent reviews saw tenants achieve reductions of 10-15%, according to the Tenant Farmers Association.

Levels are on a par with those achieved last autumn, says chief executive George Dunn.

We are now looking at 50/acre or below for arable farms, and 55-60/acre for dairy units.

Livestock farms are at the mid-40s to low 50s/acre.

Despite the cuts, Mr Dunn believes 1986 Act rents are still too high to be sustainable.

Landlords have certainly been digging their heels in. They tend to be of the opinion that their investment cant go down as well as up.

Despite efforts by the TFA over the past 12 months to press large landowners to reduce rents across the board, the Crown Estate, the Duchy Estate and the National Trust are still assessing rents individually.

But in most cases, rents have fallen in line with general reductions, says Mr Dunn.

The campaign was sparked by the Duke of Northumberlands decision last spring to give all rented farms on the estate a 15% rent abatement for 12 months.

However, some tenants still served Section 12 notices to trigger reviews this year, says Mr Dunn.

The dukes office apparently took umbrage at this, and indicated that the abatement would not be repeated. We hope our chairman and his grace can sort this out.

Hugh Fell, of Alnwick-based George F White, advised those tenants.

Rents need to reflect bottom-line profit. A number of tenants served notices to reserve their position. The ducal estates are now arbitrating on several farms.