Our position on tenancies
The Trust owns more than 5,000 houses and cottages. Although some houses are occupied by staff or let as holiday cottages, the majority are let to private individuals as their place of residence. We also have 1,500 agricultural tenants who actively manage more than 80 per cent of the 250,000 hectares of land in our care, together with commercial tenants who often play an important role in their local economy (from village shops to pubs and brewers).
Rents from our tenants and agreement holders generate income of almost £40 million each year. This is a vital source of income that helps us deliver our core charitable aims for the benefit of the nation. Without this income, and the active involvement of our tenants in looking after land and buildings, we couldn't achieve the significant amount of conservation work we undertake each year.
Our aim is to always provide warm comfortable housing in exchange for fair market rent. Maintenance, repairs and improvements to our let properties are a major source of expenditure for the Trust. In order to get all our homes up to a good standard, we've begun to step up the pace of our investment in our lowest condition cottages and spent c£13 million on projects targeting these properties in each of the last 2 years. Next year we're planning to up this to £15 million.
We approach every tenancy with the view that we want it to last as long as possible. Like anything in life, it doesn't always work out the way we might hope. Disputes are relatively rare and quite often they can be settled by negotiations between us and our tenant. On a small number of occasions, where a dispute arises that cannot be settled between us and our tenant, then the dispute can be referred to arbitrators or the courts, depending on the nature of the dispute and the type of rental agreement in place. We would only do this after all other avenues to resolve the dispute have been exhausted.