Scottish Government unveils tenancy reform plans

Plans to reform Scottish tenancy laws to make it easier for new entrants to get into the farming sector have been unveiled by the Scottish Government.

It wants to amend the Agricultural Holdings (Scotland) Acts of 1991 and 2003 to remove restrictions on the availability of letting land and also remove ambiguity from the legislation to reduce the potential for dispute.

One of the biggest changes outlined in the consultation published this week concerns the existing key entry route for entrants, Short limited Duration Tenancies, which are limited to five years.

The Scottish Government proposes to give landlords and tenants more flexibility over tenancy length by allowing a tenant to convert an SLDT into a Limited Duration Tenancy, which could extend the tenancy up to 15 years if both parties agree.

The changes would give tenants security of tenure for a longer term, therefore encouraging investment in the holding, while landlords, who have tended to be reluctant to enter into LDTs due to the 15-year minimum duration, will have the option of leasing for between five and 15 years.

Scotland’s Tenant Farming Forum welcomed the proposals, but said some of its recommendations had been left out of the consultation document.

These included the Forum’s proposal to widen the class of beneficiary who may succeed a tenancy to include a grandchild, and its proposal to amend the rent review provisions to prohibit “upward only” and “landlord only” initiated reviews.

The consultation close on 8 December. Go to to read the document.

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