THE news that a Langholm couple are being allowed to stay on their tenanted farm has been welcomed by the Scottish Tenant Farmers Association (STFA).
The association was pleased to hear from Bob McIntosh, the Tenant Farming Commissioner, that a solution had been found so David and Alison Telfer could stay at Cleuchfoot Farm which they had rented from Buccleuch Estates.
The Telfers were on a short, limited-duration lease.
The couple wished to remain on the holding until their retirement and said they had received verbal assurance from the previous Duke of Buccleuch allowing them to remain as tenants beyond the end of their short, limited-duration lease.
Buccleuch Estates had wished to end the Telfers’ occupation of the holding earlier than their original planned retirement date to sell the farm and adjoining hill ground with the immediate prospect of vacant possession.
Last year the Telfers approached Mr McIntosh to try to reach an agreement between Buccleuch and the buyers, James Jones & Sons to allow the Telfers to stay on the farm until their retirement.
Through discussion with all the parties, a satisfactory agreement was achieved.
Christopher Nicholson, STFA chairman, said: “This is a clear demonstration of how the Tenant Farming Commissioner can help tenants who believe they have been put in an unfair position by their landlord.
“Credit is due to Bob McIntosh and the commission for enabling this agreement which is satisfactory for both tenant and landlord.
“We would also like to thank Joan McAlpine, South of Scotland MSP, for her interest in ensuring a fair outcome.
“If the Telfers had not been prepared to stand up and make their case to the commissioner, they would likely be leaving their farm, home and livelihood this year.
“The lesson is clear. Tenants need to be prepared to take their cases to the commissioner when they find themselves in difficult situations.
“Unfortunately, there is still a belief among tenants that taking a dispute to the commissioner will risk the wrath of their landlord and make matters worse.
“It’s time for attitudes to change and the now two-year record of the Land Commission shows disputes can be resolved amicably with a timely intervention from the commissioner.”