Repairs and improvements if you're an agricultural tenant

You have the right to get certain equipment repaired or replaced by your landlord. If they refuse you can take legal action against them. If you want to make improvements to your land, you might have to ask your landlord's permission or give them notice.

Your landlord's repair responsibilities

Your landlord must give you the equipment necessary for you to farm the land properly. This is called fixed equipment.

It must be in a good state of repair before your tenancy begins. If fixed equipment becomes unusable through natural decay or wear and tear, your landlord must replace it.

Fixed equipment includes:

  • ditches and ponds

  • fences, hedges and gates

  • roads, bridges and fords

  • water and sewer systems

  • permanent buildings including farmhouses, cottages and barns

  • electrical equipment, including generators, fixed motors and wiring systems

All your fixed equipment should be listed in your lease or the record of holding.

The Scottish Land Commission has:

Your repair responsibilities as a tenant farmer

Maintaining fixed equipment

You must maintain any fixed equipment and keep it in good working order.

You could get a grant or loan from the council to carry out any repair work that you’re responsible for. This is called the scheme of assistance.

You will only be eligible for the scheme if you would be entitled to compensation for the work when your tenancy ends.

If you do not keep equipment in good working order you might have to pay your landlord compensation when your tenancy ends.

We have more guidance on compensation when your tenancy ends.

Reporting repairs

You must report repairs as soon as you notice them. If you do not, you could be responsible for paying for any unnecessary damage the repair causes.

If you report your repair by phone, you should send a letter or email to your landlord too. This is in case you have to prove that they were aware of the problem.

When your write to them, mention:

  • what effect the repair is having on you

  • when you think it should be fixed by

  • when you expect them to reply to you

Use our template letter for reporting a repair to help you know what to say.

Send letters by recorded delivery and keep any emails.

How long repairs should take

Repairs should be done in a reasonable amount of time. You can decide what is reasonable for you and then ask your landlord to agree.

To decide how long you think the repair should take, ask yourself:

  • whether it’s an emergency

  • what effect it’s having on you and your health

  • how long is fair and realistic for your landlord to fix it

If your landlord will not do repairs

Apply to the land court

They can order your landlord to carry out repair work by a certain date.

Get legal advice from a solicitor so you know if legal action is right for you.

We have more information on the land court and challenging the court’s decision.

If your landlord does not follow the court order

Apply to the land court again for an order authorising you to withhold rent and/or do the repairs yourself.

Do not withhold rent without permission from the land court. If you do, you could be evicted for rent arrears.

Any withheld rent must be paid to the land court. You then apply to the land court to claim back the cost of the repairs.

Find a solicitor

You can search for a solicitor near you on the Law Society of Scotland website.


Carrying out improvements

If you want to carry out improvements to your land, you might have to give your landlord notice before beginning or ask them for permission.

You usually do not need to give notice or get permission to:

  • clear bracken, tree roots or stones from the land

  • lay down temporary pasture

  • apply manure or fertiliser

You usually must give 3 months’ notice to:

  • improve roads or access

  • build fences or hedges

  • carry out land drainage work

  • put up, alter or enlarge buildings

You usually must get permission to:

  • lay down permanent pasture

  • carry out irrigation works

  • plant orchards or fruit bushes

Your lease should explain in detail what improvements need permission or notice.

If your landlord refuses to let you carry out improvements

Your landlord must let you know in writing if they do not want you to carry out improvements.

If you disagree you can appeal to the land court. They can give you permission to make improvements.

Your rights when your tenancy ends

Your rights depend on your tenancy type. Check what type of agricultural tenancy you have.

1991 Act tenants

You have the right to remove any fixtures you added at your own expense when you leave.

You must give your landlord 1 month’s notice before removing anything and put right any damage you cause during removal.

You have 6 months after your tenancy ends to remove any fixtures. During this time your landlord has the right to buy the fixture from you.

Limited duration tenants and short limited duration tenants

You do not have the right to remove fixtures when you leave.

You can negotiate with your landlord if you want to remove any fixtures when your tenancy ends.

Organisations that help tenants farmers

Last updated: 29 June 2022

Housing laws differ between Scotland and England.

This content applies to Scotland only.

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