Bullying tactics threaten to put some Cumbrian farmers out of business
Last updated at 09:06, Tuesday, 26 February 2013
Some tenant farmers in Cumbria are being bullied into massive rent increases by their landlords, it has been claimed.
According to NFU bosses, the scale of some of the rent increases could put some tenant farmers out of business.
One such farmer claimed his rent is to be put up by a staggering 40 per cent.
The issue came to light during a visit to the county’s auction marts by NFU Cumbria chairman Alan Dickinson.
Mr Dickinson, a tenant farmer himself, is urging others to seek professional advice before agreeing to any rent increases.
“This is very worrying. One farmer told me that he’d been forced into accepting a 40 per cent increase in his rent,” said Mr Dickinson of North Netherscales Farm in Penrith. “This farmer tells me he’s now thinking of packing the job in as he cannot afford to make a profit or reinvest in the business.
“Before agreeing to any increase in rent with a landlord make sure you have a decent land agent working on your behalf.”
NFU Carlisle group secretary Keith Twentyman said these reports were “very worrying”.
“Farmers are going through a bad time at the moment and this should be taken into consideration by landlords when putting up rents,” he added.
“It is very much about farm profitability and this should be reflected in any rent increase,” he added.
West Cumbrian tenant farmer Alistair Mackintosh said farmers were facing austere times and substantial increases could not be justified.
“I would be very disappointed if landlords were using bullying tactics,” said Mr Mackintosh.
He added: “Rent increases are about compromise. The landlord is going to want as much as he can and the tenant farmer as little as he can.
“If no compromise can be reached, then it is time to bring in a land agent.”
NFU north west regional director Robert Sheasby said farmers should remember that rents for traditional Agricultural Holdings Act 1986 tenancies are calculated very differently from Farm Business Tenancy rents.
“Farmers should not be confused by headline rent figures. They need to take professional advice before agreeing a rent review that not only may hurt their business, but could also hurttheir neighbouring tenants as well if it is used as a comparable.”
NFU Legal Assistance Scheme members are entitled to the Tenants First Advice service when facing a rent review.
This service provides a contribution of up to £500 towards professional advice required to prepare budgetary reports for assessing the rental value of a farm.
There is also tenant’s professional expenses cover available, offered in conjunction with NFU Mutual.
This provides protection against the costs of a rent arbitration or dispute that goes to the Agricultural Land Tribunal.
First published at 09:04, Tuesday, 26 February 2013
Published by http://www.cumberlandnews.co.uk
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