The Scottish Tenant Farmers Association (STFA) is calling on its government to live up to obligations to tenants and landlords affected by a judgment which found a 2003 land law to be defective.
“The UK Supreme Court instructed the Scottish parliament to remedy the situation and, as a consequence, eight families will lose their farms and livelihoods,” said STFA director Angus McCall.
“However, rather than seeking to fulfil commitments made by government to parliament and the industry, government lawyers seem to be abdicating all responsibility and liability and refusing point blank to consider any compensation package for the affected tenants.
“These tenants are now faced with a lengthy and expensive court battle to exert their rights.
“This has been devastating for all concerned and, after 18 months of prevarication, the tenants’ lives are still on hold and they are no further on in knowing their future.”
The change arose following a case called Salvesen v Riddell, which ran for more than 10 years from 2003 and centred on a landlord’s claim that his right to enjoy his property was denied by the original legislation.
This only affected tenants in limited partnership tenancies and who were given notice between 16 September 2002 and 30 June 2003.
The case of those affected has been highlighted by tenant Andrew Stoddart who farms at Coulston Mains, Haddington, East Lothian.
His notice to quit the farm takes force on 28 November, following the enactment of legislation to correct the defective law.
He is one of eight tenants affected by the change in the law which effectively prevented them from gaining a secure tenancy.
The Colstoun Trust, which owns Colstoun Mains Farm, said it had offered Mr Stoddart the opportunity to remain living in the house at Colstoun Mains after 28 November, on the assumption that they did not have alternative accommodation.
“Colstoun Mains is not ‘Mr Stoddart’s farm’,” said Francis Ogilvy, factor of the Colstoun Estate.
“He rented the farm for a fixed period of time in the full knowledge that the lease would terminate.
“It is a great shame that he was given false hope of staying on indefinitely by defective legislation but he has known for years now that the tenancy would end and since March this year he agreed that it would be on 28 November 2015.
“The farm tenancy will cease on that date but we repeat there is no question of him and his family being made homeless.”