Draft legislation aimed at correcting a legal issue in land tenancy law has been published by the Scottish Government.
Earlier this year, the Supreme Court ruled that the Agricultural Holdings (Scotland) Act 2003 had to be amended, because one subsection breached the rights of landlords under the European Convention on Human Rights. This related to situations where dissolution notices were served on limited partnerships with tenancy arrangements between 16th Sept 2002 and 30th June 2003.
At the moment landlords are treated differently according to when the dissolution notices were served. If it was on or after 1st July 2003 then they are entitled to bring the tenancy to an end by the double notice procedure introduced for Limited Duration Tenancies. However, if the dissolution notice was served between 16th Sept 2002 and 30th June 2003, then they are not.
The proposed draft Convention Compliance Order is designed to remove this anomaly, and a public consultation on the proposals is now under way.
Commenting following the publication, Cabinet Secretary for Rural Affairs and Environment Richard Lochhead said:
“This is an important step towards resolving legal uncertainty that has been hanging over a part of the tenant farming sector for some time and I am grateful to stakeholder organisations for their constructive engagement over the past few months in the preparation of this draft Order.”
Scottish Government research carried out with stakeholder organisations and through contacts from individuals suggests that around 30-40 landlord-tenant arrangements will be affected by the terms of the draft Order.
In three-quarters of these cases landlords and tenants have not yet dissolved their limited partnership arrangements, and a small number are sisted cases in the courts, which leaves only a handful of cases where an existing tenancy will actually have to be changed.