Irritancy of agricultural tenancies in Scotland
Produced in partnership with Mike Blair of Gillespie Macandrew LLP
Irritancy of agricultural tenancies in Scotland

The following Property guidance note Produced in partnership with Mike Blair of Gillespie Macandrew LLP provides comprehensive and up to date legal information covering:

  • Irritancy of agricultural tenancies in Scotland
  • Legal and conventional irritancy in 1991 Act Tenancies
  • Irritancy in 2003 Act Tenancies—SLDTs and LDTs
  • Irritancy in 2003 Act Tenancies—MLDTs
  • Statutory exceptions to conventional irritancy in 1991 and 2003 Act Tenancies
  • Procedure and defences
  • Effect of irritancy on compensation on termination of lease

This Practice Note sets out the grounds and availability of irritancy in 1991 Act Tenancies and 2003 Act Tenancies being:.

  1. short limited duration tenancies (‘SLDTs’)

  2. limited duration tenancies (‘LDTs’), and

  3. modern limited duration tenancies (‘MLDTs’)

Legal and conventional irritancy in 1991 Act Tenancies

A 1991 Act Tenancy can be terminated prematurely on the ground of legal irritancy or conventional irritancy.

‘Legal’ or statutory irritancy

AH(S)A 1991, s 20 provides for legal (or statutory) irritancy in 1991 Act Tenancies. This allows for an action of removing the tenant at the next term of Whitsunday or Martinmas (28 May or 28 November) following the raising of the action in the sheriff court where six months’ rent of an agricultural holding is due and unpaid.

The sheriff will grant decree against the tenant unless the tenant can pay the rent due and one year’s rent or find sufficient security, to the sheriff's satisfaction, for the rent due and an additional one year's rent. As this irritancy can be purged by paying the arrears or finding caution before decree of removing is extracted, it is very rarely used.

The ‘legal’ irritancy cannot be enforced where the tenant has a right to retain (or withhold) rent, for further information, see: Right of tenant to withhold rent: Scottish Law of Leases [15.23].

Conventional irritancy

A conventional (or contractual) irritancy