FAQs for tenants

Great Landgale in the Lake District, Cumbria

We understand that the current coronavirus (COVID-19) situation means you may have questions about your tenancy. Below, you can find answers to the most common queries.

In these FAQs:

General

1. What happens to businesses where places have closed?  

Closing our properties is in line with current government guidelines and is the appropriate action for the National Trust to take.

You're advised to talk to your Estate Manager or General Manager to discuss any specific concerns you have about your business and will keep you informed about our plans to reopen as they develop.

2. Who do we contact if telephone lines are busy?

As with many organisations, we've had to close most of our offices, and put in place phone diversions. Please do try again if the lines are busy, or you could email your local Estate Management contact. All our emails are set up in the same way: firstname.lastname@nationaltrust.org.uk. If any of our staff are away then you will be directed to someone who is able to offer some cover during their absence.

3. What happens if contractors want to access my property?  

Your health is important and we will do all we can not to impose visits on you. If however, the work is urgent, for example, if a gas boiler has failed then we may be able to arrange for temporary electric heating to be supplied to ensure continuity of space heating. We'll talk with you about how we can do this safely in your particular circumstances.

4. Will businesses be forced to close?

All tenants should be taking on board government guidance. As this is continually changing, it is important to keep abreast of the changes and how they impact your business. There is a specific government list of some businesses that have been instructed to close.

5. Will licence holders have their licence fee refunded if they can no longer hold their event on National Trust land?

You may already have event cancellation insurance. Please check whether that is applicable in your case. If you don't have this or if it is not applicable, please contact your Estate Manager in the first instance to discuss the matter.

Repairs

6. What happens if repair works need to be undertaken to properties? 

Please use your normal contact for repairs, each office is putting in place contingency measures as many of our offices have had to close. Your call will either be automatically diverted, or there will be an answerphone message giving you any new contact numbers or email addresses.

During this difficult time it's likely that many of our contractors will provide a reduced service, so it's unlikely that we'll be able to undertake all routine work at this time, as we'll focus on providing cover for the essential systems in your property. However, we will do our best to do what we can.

7. What's happening with out of hours emergency repairs?

If this in relation to provision of services (gas or electricity, for example) please contact your current supplier.

If something in your home is not working, then please refer to your most recent copy of the emergency contractor list that you will have been given either when you moved to the property or received since you moved in.

8. How do we meet staff to discuss concerns about building repairs?

At present, until government guidance changes, there's no reason why we cannot continue to undertake essential works, however, during this difficult time it is likely that many of our contractors will provide a reduced service, so we may not be able to undertake routine maintenance. If we do need to visit you, we'll discuss with you in advance how we can most safely undertake a visit.

9. What happens if contractors want to access my property?  

Your health is important and we'll do all we can not to impose visits on you. If however, the work is urgent, for example, if a gas boiler has failed then we may be able to arrange for temporary electric heating to be supplied to ensure continuity of space heating. We'll talk with you about how we can do this safely in your particular circumstances.

Rent

10. What happens regarding difficulties in paying rent?

We recognise that the continued spread of coronavirus is likely to cause instances of financial hardship amongst some of you who are unable to go to work or operate your businesses.

We're following government guidance and we understand the pressure you may be under during the course of this crisis. Please do contact your local Estate Manager in the first instance to discuss your circumstances and they'll work with you to agree a way forward. If your Estate Manager is away from work, then they will have nominated a colleague for you to be put in touch with. 

You can also contact our credit control team on the number shown your invoice, however if you are unable to get through on the telephone please email them on rentsreceivable@nationaltrust.org.uk. This inbox is monitored from 8.30am to 5pm Monday to Friday and all emails will be reviewed and answered as soon as possible.

11. Will impending rent reviews be going ahead?

We've agreed that we will not undertake any rent reviews for the rest of 2020 and that any that are already under way should be deferred for 12 months. We have also agreed to defer any reviews that were agreed from 1 January 2020  and will be amending charges already made, over the next few weeks. We know that some of you will want to talk about the rent you pay. Do contact your usual Estate Management contact in the first instance to discuss your circumstances and they'll work with you to agree a way forward. If your usual contact is away from work, then they'll have nominated a colleague for you to be put in touch with.

12. With talk of providing mortgage ‘holidays’ for up to three months, is something similar being considered in relation to rents? 

We’re following government guidance. We'll continue to update our approach as any new guidance is released. However, in the interim, please do contact your local Estate Manager contact in the first instance to discuss your circumstances and they'll work with you to agree a way forward. If your usual contact is away from work, then they'll have nominated a colleague for you to be put in touch with. 

You can also contact our credit control team on the number shown on your invoice. However, if you are unable to get through on the telephone please email them on rentsreceivable@nationaltrust.org.uk. This inbox is monitored from 8.30am to 5pm Monday to Friday and all emails will be reviewed and answered as soon as possible.

Farming tenants and licence holders

13. Can livestock be moved onto National Trust land?

If you move stock onto National Trust land that you have a tenancy or licence for, you’ll need to make sure that you have completed all of the relevant land associations documents that are required. We’ve been made aware that applying for these may be time consuming and waiting periods for documents may be longer than normally expected.

You can contact the Animal and Plant Health Agency (APHA) on: 03000 200 301

14. What documentation is required if livestock is moved onto National Trust land?

In the case of seasonal grazing licences you will need to complete a Temporary Land Association or a Temporary CPH (county parish holding). We have been advised by the APHA that this may take up to 35 days. They have recommended that you complete the documentation online if possible as all APHA staff are homeworking and online submissions will be prioritised.

Information on Temporary Land Association/Temporary CPH can be found on the gov.uk website.

You can contact the Animal and Plant Health Agency (APHA) on: 03000 200 301

15. In moving livestock onto National Trust land, are livestock movement certificates required?

If you move stock onto National Trust land that you have a tenancy or licence for, you’ll need to record livestock movements as normal. Links to livestock movements can be found on the gov.uk website.

You can contact the Animal and Plant Health Agency (APHA) on: 03000 200 301

16. What is the position on TB tests for cattle during COVID-19?

TB testing is still being undertaken and will be required pre-movement (when appropriate). We have been informed that this process can be time consuming. Please see current guidance relating to TB regulations and self-isolation on the TBHub website.

You can contact the Animal and Plant Health Agency (APHA) on: 03000 200 301

17. What support is there for graziers and livestock tenants in making essential journeys?

National Farmers Union are issuing essential journey certificates for members. For more information see the NFU website. You will need your member login to access the print offs.

18. What support can the Farming Community Network (FCN) offer farm tenants at this time?

The FCN made the decision not to continue with farm and market visits at the moment, however they are still providing ongoing local support over the telephone. The FCN helpline will remain open throughout, and they will continue to take all calls for Farming Help. They have recruited additional helpline volunteers from within their existing volunteer and staff teams to allow for the increase in calls.

You can contact the FCN helpline on: 03000 111 999 or on their e-helpline help@fcn.org.uk

As part of Farming Help and in partnership with other rural support charities, they have developed a strategy to ensure they are able to connect isolated or ill farmers with practical local support and are in the process of pulling together a directory of organisations throughout England and Wales who we can confidentially connect them with. FCN volunteers will also be helping farmers phoning in for support to develop their contingency plans.

19. What should a farm tenant do if they feel unable to undertake the prescriptions within a Countryside Stewardship (CS) agreement due to either ‘social distancing’ or ‘essential travel’ rules?

Your safety and the safety of others during the coronavirus outbreak is our priority. The Trust and the Rural Payments Agency (RPA) recognise that in some cases that adherence to individual schemes may not be possible.

If you feel are unable to undertake the prescriptions of your CS agreement due to either ‘social distancing’ or ‘essential travel’ please contact the RPA at ruralpayments@defra.gov.uk or Rural Payments Agency, PO Box 324, Worksop, S95 1DF. Please include your S.B.I. and agreement number within the header of the email and a brief description of the issues within the main section including relating field numbers. The RPA will contact you in due course.

20. What should a farm tenant do if they cannot undertake the capital works obligation within the agreed time for their Countryside Stewardship agreement as they need to purchase equipment from ‘non-essential services’ or use skilled labour from ‘non-essential services’?

Your safety and the safety of others during the coronavirus outbreak is our priority. The Trust and the RPA recognise that in some cases that it may not be possible to undertake capital works as you may not have access to non-essential goods and services.

In this case please contact the RPA at ruralpayments@defra.gov.uk or Rural Payments Agency, PO Box 324, Worksop, S95 1DF. Please include your S.B.I. and agreement number within the header of the email. Please state in as much detail why you will not be able to undertake the capital works within the desired time period. The RPA will contact you in due course.

21. Who should a farm tenant liaise with at the National Trust to answer queries about whether their grazing of animals complies with the National Trust’s agri-environment schemes (e.g. supplying grazing records and pedigree certificates) whilst properties are closed?

Do contact your usual National Trust contact in the first instance to discuss your query and they'll work with you to agree a way forward. As with many organisations, we've had to close most of our offices, and put in place phone diversions. Please do try again if the lines are busy, or you could email your local Farm Advisor contact. All our emails are set up in the same way: firstname.lastname@nationaltrust.org.uk. If your usual contact is away from work, then they'll have nominated a colleague for you to be put in touch with.

22. What if a site inspection is needed to check a farm tenant’s agri-environment scheme (e.g. fencing or livestock checks)?

In view of the guidance on social distancing issued by the government it is not appropriate for National Trust staff to carry out site inspections at this time. Please do contact your usual National Trust contact in the first instance to discuss your circumstances and they'll work with you to agree a way forward.

23. What should farm tenants who are experiencing lots of the general public on their farm during lambing/calving do, if there are currently no National Trust property staff on site? 

Under current government guidance on access to green spaces (dated 27 March 2020), visitors should not be travelling far away from home to visit sites in order to exercise. In England, footpaths remain open for the public to use provided they are observing social distancing rules.

The Welsh assembly government has asked National Parks, Local Authorities & the National Trust to close some footpaths in key ‘honey-pot’ sites where necessary to ensure social distancing is maintained. However only government agencies and National Parks have powers to enforce closures. The National Trust has not needed to directly close any specific footpaths yet but supports closures by National Parks. Please refer to the National Park and Local Authorities websites for the latest information.

Latest statement on coronavirus (COVID-19) 

The National Trust's latest statement on coronavirus (COVID-19) can be found here: