Agricultural tenants’ improvements amnesty 2017–2020—Scotland
Agricultural tenants’ improvements amnesty 2017–2020—Scotland

The following Property guidance note provides comprehensive and up to date legal information covering:

  • Agricultural tenants’ improvements amnesty 2017–2020—Scotland
  • Background to the amnesty
  • Duration of the amnesty
  • Classes of improvements
  • Normal Procedure when carrying out improvements
  • Procedure under the improvements amnesty legislation
  • Powers of the Land Court
  • Amnesty agreements
  • The TFC Code of Practice

Produced in partnership with Mike Blair of Gillespie MacAndrew

This Practice Note explains the improvements amnesty for certain types of improvements carried out in the past by tenants on let farms in Scotland, but not properly documented at the time. The amnesty allows tenants to apply to have such improvements legally recognised for potential compensation from the landlord at termination of the tenancy. It expires on 12 June 2020, after being open for three years from 13 June 2017. Important guidance is in the Tenant Farming Commissioner (TFC).

See: Code of Practice—Amnesty on Tenants’ Improvements (the TFC Code) and Supplementary guidance to the Code of Practice (the TFC supplementary guidance).

Background to the amnesty

For most of the 20th century starting with the Agricultural Holdings (Scotland) Act 1923, (modified by Agricultural Holdings (Scotland) Act 1931 and Agricultural Holdings (Scotland) Act 1949), it has been permissible for an agricultural tenant to carry out significant works of improvement on the let farm and to claim compensation from the landlord at the end of their tenancy. At common law, there was no entitlement to such compensation.

The Agricultural Holdings (Scotland) Act 1991 (AH(S)A 1991) and the Agricultural Holdings (Scotland) Act 2003 (AH(S)A 2003) allow for tenants of agricultural holdings to claim compensation for improvements they make to their holding during their tenancy. This right is available