The CLA and Tenant Farmers’ Association have clashed over claims of deteriorating relationships between landlords and tenants.
The TFA has suggested ‘aggressive’ behaviour from landlords’ agents has doubled or tripled rents for some farmers, causing ‘unnecessary distress and worry’ to tenants.
TFA chief executive George Dunn said: “Too often we see landlords’ agents seeking to introduce open market rents into reviews of rent on traditional holdings let under the Agricultural Holdings Act 1986, where the review process deliberately avoids consideration of the open market to produce a level of rent which is affordable for the tenant and fair to the landlord.
“TFA members are often left reeling when they receive correspondence suggesting rent levels double or triple what they are currently paying using this flawed approach.”
Agents are also said to be hiking tenants’ rents by adding the value of farmhouses to agreements.
The CLA, however, said it ‘did not accept the deterioration the TFA refers to’.
Chief surveyor Andrew Shirley added: “The CLA supports a system which encourages good landlord and tenant relationships, but these agreements need to exist in a modern and changing world.
“Many of the issues the TFA complains of fall within well-established law. The rents paid reflect the rental value of the whole holding, the legislation and the terms of the tenancy.”
In Scotland, relationships between tenants and landlords are overseen by a Tenant Farming Commissioner.
If the Commissioner conducts an investigation and finds the agent to be in the wrong, he will make his findings public.
Angus McCall, director of the Scottish Tenant Farmers’ Association, said: “The Commissioner has had several situations referred to him and the net result has been land agents have been a lot more careful in the way they deal with tenants and rent reviews and a lot more respectful of the situation between landlords and tenants.”
The CLA said the Scottish model would not be suitable for England and Wales because the tenanted sector was already strongly regulated, but it encouraged the TFA to engage with the Tenancy Reform Industry Group to ‘push a progressive industry forward’ post-Brexit.