Farming landlords and tenants are being asked to work collaboratively and be compassionate in overcoming disputes during these unprecedented and challenging times.
The Tenant Farmers Association and Country Land and Business Association have joined forces to offer support during the Covid-19 crisis.
In a joint statement, with Defra’s support, the organisations are appealing to all rural landlords and tenants to work together, particularly when it comes to rent payments, notices to quit and finalising new tenancy agreements.
Neither party should seek to take advantage of the current situation, or use it as an excuse to act unreasonably, the statement says. Both parties are urged to consider the impact of their actions on the other and avoid taking a hard line on any issue.
TFA and CLA said never has it been more important for the whole of the farming industry to focus 100 per cent on supplying the nation’s food.
CLA president Mark Bridgeman said: “We know that landowners value their relationships with tenants deeply, and we are working with CLA members to underline the importance of working closely with tenants who are experiencing difficulties due to coronavirus.
“We have advised landlords to discuss with farming tenants any problems they are facing so that a mutual solution can be found, and we make sure farming businesses can carry on as well as possible in these difficult circumstances.
“We also suggest that, as far as possible, current disputes are put on hold and that formal proceedings for any non-payment of rent are used only as a matter of extreme last resort.”
TFA national chairman Mark Coulman added that it is “inevitable” that some tenants will struggle to meet rent payments or other tenancy obligations due to cash flow problems and other impacts of the Covid-19 situation.
“In these circumstances we are urging landlords and tenants to work together to agree alternative arrangements. We are already hearing of positive examples of landlords and tenants working together during this trying time.”
TFA says it is actively assisting members left in difficult situations beyond their control due to the current restrictions in place.
“As always, communication will be vital and we would encourage dialogue between landlords and tenants, so that practical solutions can be found for any ongoing issues or any that arise during this challenging period,” Mr Coulman added. “TFA and CLA members should contact their respective organisations for any further guidance needed.”