Scottish Green MSP for the Highlands and Islands John Finnie (pictured) has backed calls from the Scottish Tenant Farmers Association for landlords to reduce rents and for existing rent notices to be withdrawn.
The STFA issued the plea to the Scottish Land and Estates and the Scottish Government, noting the measures would allow time to recover from the coronavirus pandemic and brace for a likely economic downturn.
A number of landlords have already expressed their intention to pursue rent increases while concerns have also been raised around landlords or their agents conducting site visits during the lockdown period.
A new system of rent setting which will make it easier to adjust rates in response to economic conditions is due to come into force and the Green MSP has also supported the STFA’s calls for this to implemented as soon as possible.
Mr Finnie said:
“The agriculture sector is facing a perfect storm of the COVID-19 pandemic and ongoing Brexit chaos.
“To add the burden of opportunistic rent increases onto the shoulders of tenant farmers in these circumstances is clearly unjust.
“It can’t just be left to the tenants to pick up the pieces of this crisis while the landowners remain unaffected.
“The Scottish Government and Scottish Land and estates must urgently heed the STFA’s calls for a moratorium on rent increases and give serious consideration to reducing rates now.”