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Book reviews

1 November 02

Review of A Practical Guide to Rent Review of Agricultural Holdings

by Crispin Agnew of Lochnaw

This Practical Guide is essential reading for anyone, whether lawyer or land agent, who advises landlord and tenants of agricultural holdings. It is a very practical guide to all aspects of a rent review of a farm. It deals with the legal complexities and pitfalls of section 13 of the Agricultural Holdings (Scotland) Act 1991. The book takes the practitioner from the notice demanding rent arbitration, through the tortuous statutory provisions relating to “open market rent” which is “distorted by scarcity” and other factors such as “marriage value” to the proper approach to improvements, the house, and quotas. The book then ends up with practical advice on how to approach a rent arbitration including advice about comparables and the need for expert evidence, the statement of case and the final appeal to the Land Court or to the Sheriff by stated case.

Fraser Barraclough is a very well respected land agent well versed in rent reviews. He is also one of the more experienced arbiters on the Scottish Executives panel of agricultural arbiters. He brings a wealth of experience to this book. At its prime level it is a good practical guide giving detailed practical advice on rent reviews, high- lighting the legal issues that arise. The book points out those still unresolved legal conundrums such as the proper approach to the renting of milk quota that is not registered in the tenant’s name or “marriage value” in a holding that is only let as additional land to existing farms.

For those who consider themselves reasonably well versed in rent reviews this is essential reading for the insight that it gives to the approach that an arbiter is likely to take in a rent arbitration.

It is to be hoped that the author will follow this up with Practical Guides to other aspects of agricultural valuations and perhaps a companion volume dealing with rent reviews of SLDTs and LDTs under the Agricultural Holdings (Scotland) Bill presently before Parliament.

Sir Crispin Agnew of Lochnaw Bt QC