Ministers’ call

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Angus parliamentarians Graeme Dey and Mike Weir are asking the Scottish Government to consider rural estate tenancies in the context of the consultation currently being carried out into the Private Tenancies Regime.

The pair have written to Margaret Burgess MSP, Minister for Housing and Welfare requesting that the issue be looked at as part of the process which follows the consultation, which was due to close on December 28.

The MSP for Angus South and MP for Angus have raised concerns over whether appropriate security of tenure is provided to this group of tenants under existing legislation, given the often unusual nature of tenancy arrangements.

Graeme Dey MSP commented: “Estate tenancies very often work in the interests of both parties particularly where these are linked to employment and provided at a preferential level of rent which continues beyond retirement, and we should acknowledge that.

“However, there is another side to this especially where the tenancies are not employment related and simply of a commercial nature.

“Under recognised landlord-tenant arrangements the tenant is, in return for a rental payment, provided with accommodation which the landlord is responsible for the upkeep of.

“With estate tenancies however you can have the tenant funding improvements and ongoing re-decoration yet with nothing other than the basic limited security of tenure in return.’’

Mike Weir MP added: “I am aware of situations where long term tenants have spent very substantial sums on heating, kitchens, new bathroom etc yet could potentially find themselves at some stage given minimal notice to quit and with no return on these investments which have rendered the property in question more attractive and marketable than it would have been.

“To be fair, these tenants may well have enjoyed below market rental levels in return for that spend but of course the market value of the property will have been enhanced by the improvements they have funded.

“Despite making a contribution to maintaining and upgrading the properties, they can still be subject to seeing their tenancies ended on the same basis as anyone else.

“Whilst recognising it may not be simple to do so, we are asking the government to consider whether it might be appropriate in any future legislation to introduce safeguards for such tenancies.’’