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 are the plans for reopening National Trust places?  

We're reopening our gardens and parks, gradually, safely and in line with government advice and we are doing this through advanced booking on our website.

Every Friday we release new tickets for the following week. We have to continue to limit numbers to make sure that visitors and staff will be safe, but we’re opening more places every week and adding more tickets for places that are already open. There are also hundreds of coastal and countryside car parks open in England, Wales and Northern Ireland which you don't have to book.

Tickets are free for National Trust members and tenants. When using our booking system, please select a member's ticket and write the word ‘Tenant’ in the membership number field. Please remember to bring your tenant pass with you when you visit, as you will need to show this when you arrive otherwise sadly, you will be turned away.

For now, all National Trust houses remain closed, but we’re working on plans for when we can reopen these again.

You're advised to talk to your estate management contact to discuss any specific concerns you have about the effects of our reopening on your home or business. We will keep our website updated with our plans to reopen as they continue to develop.

Check our reopening and coronavirus FAQs >

Read our latest statement >

2. Will I still be able to get hold of a member of staff following your recent announcement about cutting costs?

We are continuing to operate with reduced staff numbers and many of our staff are still on furlough leave. Please do make contact with us by 'phone or email as you would normally, and you will be directed to another member of the team if your usual contact is away from work.

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

As with many organisations, most of our offices remain closed, and we have 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.

4. 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. It may also be necessary for us to undertake routine checks on electrics, boilers and chimneys and we will talk with you about how we can do this safely in your particular circumstances.

5. Will businesses be forced to remain 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 are instructed to remain closed.

6. 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.

7. Is there any other support for National Trust tenants?

The government is offering support for small business, and individuals in financial hardship.

The Tenants' Association of the National Trust - an independent group set up by tenants, for tenants - is also on hand to provide help or advice. Please take a look at the TANT website for more information.

Repairs

8. 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 many of our contractors are only providing a reduced service, and it's unlikely that we'll be able to undertake all routine work at this time. We are focussing on providing cover for the essential systems in your property so any non-urgent works are likely to be delayed. 

9. 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.

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

At present, we can arrange to undertake essential works, however, during this difficult time 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.

Rent

11. What happens regarding difficulties in paying rent?

We recognise that the continued government measures to contain the 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.

12. Will impending rent reviews be going ahead?

We've agreed that we will not undertake any rent reviews during 2020 and that any that are already under way should be deferred for 12 months. Where we have deferred any reviews that were already agreed in 2020 we are amending charges already made.

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.

13. With the provision of mortgage ‘holidays’ by banks having been extended, is something similar being considered in relation to rents? 

We’re following government guidance. However, please do contact your local Estate Management contact in the first instance to discuss your circumstances and they'll work with you to agree a way forward if you are having difficulty paying your rent. 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

14. 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 (for England) or on 0300 303 8268 (for Wales).

15. 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 (for England) or on 0300 303 8268 (for Wales).

16. 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 (for England) or on 0300 303 8268 (for Wales).

17. What is the position on TB tests for cattle during coronavirus social distancing restrictions?

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 (for England) or on 0300 303 8268 (for Wales).

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) or Glastir 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 National Trust and the Rural Payments Agency (RPA) recognise that in some cases adherence to individual schemes may not be possible.

If you feel you are unable to undertake the prescriptions of your CS agreement due to current restrictions please contact the RPA at ruralpayments@defra.gov.uk or Rural Payments Agency, PO Box 324, Worksop, S95 1DF. Please include your Single Business Identifier (SBI) 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.

In the case of our Welsh farmers please contact Rural Payments Wales at RPWOnline@Wales.gsi.gov.uk or Rural Payments Wales, PO Box 251, Caernarfon, LL55 9DA. Please include your SBI and Glastir number within the header of the email and a brief description of the issues within the main section including relating field numbers. Rural Payments Wales 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 or Glastir 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 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 SBI 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.

In the case of our Welsh farmers please contact Rural Payments Wales at RPWOnline@Wales.gsi.gov.uk or Rural Payments Wales, PO Box 251, Caernarfon, LL55 9DA. Please include your SBI and Glastir number within the header of the email and a brief description of the issues within the main section including relating field numbers. Rural Payments Wales will contact you in due course.

The Rural Payments Agency have agreed to provide a 1 year extension to the time available for agreement holders to complete capital works. This applies to Countryside Stewardship agreements including Glastir with capital works that started after 1 April 2018 or in 2019 (including Higher Tier, Mid-Tier, Hedgerows and Boundaries, Woodland creation, Woodland Tree health, Woodland Management Plan, Implementation Plan, Feasibility Study, Water capital items, and Historic Buildings Restoration Grants). There is currently no change to agreements started in 2020.

21. Who should a licensed grazier 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? What if the key National Trust contact is not available?

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 continued guidance on social distancing issued by the governments of Wales, Northern Ireland and England it may not be 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.

Latest statement on reopening and coronavirus (COVID-19) 

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