Making an Inquiry about an Alleged Breach of a Code of Practice
What is the role of the Tenant Farming Commissioner?
Where a party to a discussion or negotiation that is covered by a code of practice believes that another party has operated in a way that breaches a code, they may make a formal inquiry to the Tenant Farming Commissioner who will investigate and publish a decision as to whether a code has been breached, along with recommendations for actions required to remedy the breach.
The codes of practice and associated inquiry system provide a route for resolving disputes and ensuring adherence to best practice but the TFC is available to provide advice and assistance in the resolution of code of practice issues before they become the subject of a formal inquiry and in the resolution of issues which may not be covered by a code.
Who can make an inquiry?
A person may apply to the TFC to inquire into an alleged breach of a code of practice if that person has an interest in the relevant tenancy or would have had but for the alleged breach. Normally, therefore, an inquiry should come from either a landlord or a tenant but the inquiry may be about the conduct of a person acting on behalf of the landlord or tenant during the negotiations.
What can you inquire about?
An inquiry must relate to an alleged breach of a published code of practice. It follows therefore that a inquiry can only be made if the subject matter is covered by a code of practice.
You should not raise an inquiry about a matter which the other party is likely to be unaware of.
How do you make a formal inquiry?
To make a formal inquiry, please complete the Inquiry Application Form below or call 0300 244 4452 to request a hard copy and email it to the Tenant Farming Commissioner email@example.com or post to: The Tenant Farming Commissioner, Scottish Land Commission, Longman House, Longman Road, Inverness IV1 1SF.
What happens to your inquiry?
The TFC will assess the inquiry for admissibility by checking that it is relevant, procedurally correct and of enough substance to justify further investigation. If the TFC considers that it does not satisfy these criteria the inquiry may be rejected at this stage.
If the TFC considers that the inquiry is worthy of further investigation the party being inquired about, and any other party directly involved in the tenancy, will be notified of the inquiry and provided with the details. The Commissioner will request a response from those parties and may request further information from all parties involved. Failure to provide that information, or to provide it within the time frame set by the TFC, may render the party liable to a fine not exceeding £1000.
The information provided when making a Tenant Farming inquiry will only be used for the purpose of the inquiry. This information will be made available to the Tenant Farming Commissioner and a limited number of Land Commission senior officers to allow the Commission to investigate your inquiry. In order to investigate your inquiry fully we may be required to notify those with an interest in the tenancy and ask them to respond to your inquiry.
The outcome of your inquiry
As soon as practicable after an inquiry into an alleged breach is complete the TFC will publish a report setting out a decision as to whether or not a code has been breached, the reasons for the decision and such recommendations as the TFC considers appropriate.
A published report is admissible as evidence in any proceedings before the Land Court and the Land Court must take into account any report that is relevant to any question arising in the proceedings of the Court.