February 6, 2024 3:43 pm

Insert Lead Generation
Nikka Sulton

The Tenant Farmers Association’s recent survey provides a comprehensive examination of the dynamics within landlord-tenant relationships. One significant revelation from the survey is the prevalence of tenant farmers expressing sentiments of disrespect, instances of being disregarded, and, in some severe cases, facing harassment or bullying from landlords or their representatives. These disconcerting findings underscore the immediate need for proactive and thorough measures to be implemented. Such measures are crucial to cultivating an environment that encourages healthier, more respectful connections between landlords and tenants within the agricultural sector.

The survey’s outcomes shed light on the complex and often strained interactions that characterize the landlord-tenant relationship. Beyond merely highlighting the challenges, it calls attention to the urgent requirement for systemic changes. Establishing industry-wide standards and practices that prioritize mutual respect and fair treatment is imperative. This not only ensures the well-being of tenant farmers but also contributes to a more sustainable and harmonious agricultural community. The findings act as a clarion call for stakeholders to collectively address these issues and work towards a more equitable and supportive environment for all involved parties.

TFA chief executive George Dunn states, “The survey findings are alarming, with 30% of respondents feeling ‘bullied or harassed’ by their landlords, a figure that escalates to 37% when dealing with landlords’ agents and representatives. Tenant farmers have the right to peaceful enjoyment of their holdings, and it is entirely unacceptable for anyone to experience bullying or harassment from their landlords or their agents in the present day. The fact that 40% of respondents felt ignored by their landlords and 70% did not regularly meet with them is concerning and warrants immediate rectification.”

In addition to the quantitative findings, respondents were given the opportunity to share their insights through free-text comments, with over a quarter opting to do so.

The survey’s stark statistics shed light on the challenges faced by tenant farmers in their relationships with landlords and representatives, revealing a troubling narrative. However, it is the individual comments provided by respondents that bring forth a more nuanced and poignant understanding of the difficulties these farmers encounter. These firsthand accounts vividly illustrate the substantial gap that exists before tenant farmers can feel assured of fair, reasonable, and respectful treatment.

George Dunn, the TFA chief executive and a member of Baroness Kate Rock’s agricultural tenancy working group, expresses his lack of surprise at the survey results but underscores his profound disappointment. The wealth of evidence gathered from the survey aligns with similar findings from the agricultural tenancy working group, showcasing the persistent challenges in this sector. The TFA conducted this survey with the intention of contributing valuable insights to DEFRA’s call for evidence, specifically addressing the potential role of a new Tenant Farming Commissioner, a recommendation stemming from the Rock Review.

A robust Code of Practice for the landlord-tenant sector and the establishment of a new Tenant Farming Commissioner, as suggested by the Rock Review, emerge as essential needs, according to overwhelming sentiment from respondents. The unanimous view reflects the potential substantial impact these initiatives could have in fostering healthier relationships between landlords and tenants. The hope is that DEFRA recognizes and promptly acts upon these genuine opinions to steer the sector towards more positive dynamics.

The survey, albeit capturing the perspectives of a few hundred tenant farmers, signals the extensive work required to align with the aspirations outlined in the Rock Review. The overarching goal of enhanced collaboration within the landlord-tenant sector demands landlords and their representatives to adopt a more open, accessible, and reasonable approach. Moving forward, fairness and mutual respect must become the guiding principles defining these relationships, as emphasized by Dunn.



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