9 November 2001

TFA data shows rents still falling

AGRICULTURAL rents continued to fall during 2001, according to the latest figures from the Tenant Farmers Association.

Interim results show that 73% of rents reviewed during the year, most of which were last set in 1997/98, fell. Average arable rents dropped £7 to £54/acre, dairy rents by £12 to £64/acre and livestock/ mixed farm rents by £5 to £43/acre.

Over 40% of all rents reviewed fell by at least 15% and a quarter more by 10-15%, says the TFAs George Dunn. "These levels are more realistic, given the state of the industry. But we would have liked to have seen a further 5% reduction across the board."

Farmers who last had a rent review in 1998/99 and who are paying near or above pre-2001 review levels should consider getting them reduced next year, he adds.

But tenants should be careful, he warns. "Some landlords are tending to ignore comparable evidence and require component valuations of everything on the farm. They are seeking to attach particularly high values to farmhouses and cottages. This should be resisted.

"Another favourite ploy is for agents to focus on marriage value in the holding, where it is deemed as more appropriately farmed in connection with other land. Legislation requires that any marriage value in comparable rent evidence should be deducted." &#42