The Community Right to Buy
The Community Right to Buy provides the opportunity for community bodies representing rural areas in Scotland with less than 10,000 head of population to register an interest in land and buy that registered land once it is offered for sale.
The Community Right to Buy has two stages:
- Registering a community interest in land;
- The opportunity to purchase the registered land when it comes up for sale (the "Right to Buy").
Registering a community interest in land
Before a community can register its interest in land, it needs to form a Community Body, a company limited by guarantee, whose main purpose is consistent with furthering the achievement of sustainable development.
Communities will need to identify land or an asset which, if the community was to purchase, would be able to benefit it environmentally, economically or socially. Applications to register a community interest in land are normally made before land is put on the market. In exceptional cases, a community can apply after the land has been placed on the market (a "late" application) but before the missives are concluded.
Communities will need to get evidence of support from their community of their proposals to register an interest in land. This is at least 10% of the community that are eligible to vote and a "significantly greater" level where an application is "late".
A registration lasts for 5 years. It can be re-registered for another 5 years on a rolling basis.
Communities have successfully registered an interest in a wide range of land such as woodlands, forests, fields, reservoirs, public houses, churches, schools and community centres.
The Right to Buy
When the owner of the registered land decides to sell the land, a Community Body has to complete the following key steps within a period of 6 months:
- ballot its "community";
- prepare its Right to Buy "application";
- secure the funds for the purchase of the land or asset;
- transfer the land following payment.
Successful Community Rights to Buy
A number of communities throughout Scotland have successfully purchased land and other assets using the Community Right to Buy. They include:
- Assynt, Sutherland
- Crossgates, Fife
- Silverburn, Midlothian
- Neilston, Renfrewshire
- Comrie, Perthshire
- Benbecula, Western Isles
- Bute, Isle of Bute
- Camuscross and Duisdale, Isle of Skye
Resources are available to guide all parties through the Community Right to Buy.
The Community Right to Buy website has a number of useful tools:
www.scotland.gov.uk search for "Community Right to Buy"
- A model Articles of Association to set up a community body.
- A downloadable application form in Word format to register a community interest in land.
- A Guidance document with sections for community bodies, landowners and third parties.
- A link to the Register of Community Interests in Land ( RCIL) which contains all the Community Right to Buy applications and associated documents.
- Rural Communities Mapping Tool which identifies land that is subject to the Right to Buy and identifies postcode areas.
- Resources such as copies of primary and secondary legislation, information on funding, etc.
Community Assets Branch provides impartial advice on all aspects of the Community Right to Buy process. It also provides administration of the Community Right to Buy. Contact details below.
This document is also available on the Scottish Government website: www.scotland.gov.uk
Further copies are available fromCommunity Assets Branch
C-Spur, Saughton House
Telephone: 0300 244 9822