Farmers face rent hikes

Stoker Frater
Stoker Frater

Rents on farms owned by the Duke of Northumberland are set to rise, causing concern to tenant farmers.

Land agents for Northumberland Estates have been visiting farmers in recent weeks to look at rent reviews, with some seeing a 90 per cent hike in payments.

But Northumberland Estates says that every case is different.

Stoker Frater, who farms near Alnwick, said: “Most tenants are looking at a 30 to 40 per cent rise.

“But you have got to look at this from both sides.

“Traditionally Northumberland Estates has been quite laid back but now it is run as a business.

“Every single farm is different and every farmer is different.

“But as a farmer you want to pay as little rent as possible so you can invest in the farm.”

He added: “Compared to a mortgage, the rent is peanuts.”

A spokesman for the Estates said: “Northumberland Estates is working closely with tenant farmers as part of the current round of farm rent reviews.

“We understand that tenants do not welcome potential increases in rent but believe that, by encouraging open and honest discussions during negotiations, rent reviews take into account the type of tenancy, the individual farm and rents accurately reflect market conditions.

“Each farm and rent review has unique circumstances and we actively engage in detailed discussions with individual tenants on a farm-by-farm basis.

“Reviews are conducted in conjunction with tenants and negotiations are based on individual farm circumstances, historical information relevant to the farm tenancy and the agricultural sector(s) in which the farm operates.”

He added that advice from a national land agency is also sought.