Coronavirus: Landlords and farm tenants urged to 'work closely'

A joint appeal has been made for farming landlords and tenants to work together during the current challenging times
A joint appeal has been made for farming landlords and tenants to work together during the current challenging times

A joint appeal has been made for rural landlords and tenant farmers to work together during the current 'unprecedented' Covid-19 crisis.

Landlords and tenants across the UK have been urged to work together 'collaboratively and compassionately'.

The plea, made by the Tenant Farmers Association (TFA) and the Country Land and Business Association (CLA), is made in respect of all tenancy matters.

However, it is particularly made regarding rent payments, notices to quit and finalising new tenancy agreements.

Both the TFA and CLA say neither the landlord or tenant should seek to take 'advantage of the current situation or use it as an excuse to act unreasonably'.

Both parties are urged to consider the impact of their actions on the other and avoid taking a hard line on any issue during the coronavirus situation.

CLA President Mark Bridgeman said: “We know that landowners value their relationships with tenants deeply, and we are working to underline the importance of working closely with tenants who are experiencing difficulties due to coronavirus.

"We have advised landlords to discuss with farm 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."

He added: “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 said both the CLA and TFA are urging landlords and tenants to work together to agree alternative arrangements.

“It is inevitable that some tenants will struggle to meet rent payments or other tenancy obligations due to cashflow difficulties or other knock on impacts of the coronavirus situation.

"We are already hearing of positive examples of landlords and tenants working together during this trying time,” he said.

It comes as the TFA has been assisting members left in difficult situations beyond their control due to coronavirus restrictions.

In one case, a conversation with a farmer's landlord's agent led to agreement on a better frequency of rental payments to assist cash flow and reduce the stress of having to find large sums of money upfront.

In a second case, farmer has decided in light of the recent events to give up farming, but he had just gone beyond the point at which he could break his tenancy.

Although the landlord had previously rejected his notice to quit, the TFA managed to negotiate its subsequent acceptance.

Mr Coulman said: “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.

"TFA and CLA members should contact their respective organisations for any further guidance needed.”