The amnesty for tenants' improvements under the Land Reform (Scotland) Act 2016 will come into force on 13 June 2017.
Under the Act, agricultural tenants who have made certain improvements to their holdings will be able to claim compensation at the termination of their tenancy, even though they did not follow the correct statutory procedure at the time of making the improvements.
To be eligible, tenants must serve an “amnesty notice” on their landlord within three years of 13 June 2017, setting out the details of the improvement and why it is fair and equitable that compensation be paid, despite the irregularity.
Landlords will be entitled to object on certain grounds, including that the tenant received a benefit for carrying out the improvement, but if they do not, the improvement will qualify for compensation – though as with other improvements, this will depend on the improvement having a value to an incoming tenant. Disputes will be settled by arbitration or the Scottish Land Court.
Notices cannot be served where the landlord's consent was required to the improvement but not given, or where proper notice was served but the improvement was then carried out in a substantially different manner.
The Independent Adviser on Tenant Farming has issued guidance on the new regime.
Click here to view the commencement order. Provisions of the Act extending the rights of succession to and assignation of 1991 Act tenancies and limited duration tenancies were previously brought into force on 23 December 2016.