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Estate Management - the role of the Land Agent

A rural chartered surveyor's remit may also include a traditional land agency role of managing a landowner's property on his behalf which is still let to tenant farmers. The purpose may be to generate income to the landlord to support his and his family's lifestyle, and to meet other commitments whether that is the principal estate residence, in-hand buildings or other assets and interests on or off the estate. Also the landowner will wish to see his estate kept in good order and even enhanced: by improving houses and cottages, converting and diversifying the use of buildings and managing the environment and natural features of the property - woodland, waterways, wildlife and so on.  A rich and varied brief.

A vital factor in the success of this management is the tenant farmer. It must be remembered that whilst he or she may only be a tenant, the  property is still home and usually the source of his or her personal and family income and welfare. Their interest in the success of the estate is just the same as the landowner's. Therefore, whilst to a degree being on different sides they can also be a very effective team. The farmer's husbandry to care for the land, maintain its fertility, encourage nature and maintain the structure of the buildings is all part of the end result to make the estate not only a thriving place but a happy place.

A land agent's job should be to build and maintain a relationship between his client, the landowner, and the tenants. Yes they have respective responsibilities and objectives but a positive trusting rapport between them will make the estate flourish. The rents need to be up to date but they also need to be fair, reflecting the economic or seasonal circumstances that prevail. Repairs can be expensive but need to be done and regularly. It is false economy to skip an anniversary  - painting for example - due to budget restraints because the work will only cost more next time.  In the meantime the property declines in its appearance which in turn can demotivate everyone concerned. Both parties are able to help each other on these things. In this way, the continuity and the wealth of the estate is sustained.

Estate management is a most rewarding experience and not just in financial terms. It is the satisfaction of seeing an estate kept in its prime condition which enhances both its productive and capital value and its way of life. It also establishes and maintains a bond between the landlord and the tenant as a team as well as individual entrepreneurs. They are working together, yet independently,  to achieve the full potential from the land and the place that they mutually love.

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