Useful Tips For Landowners And Tenants
1. The Right to Buy under Part 5 of the Land Reform (Scotland) Act 2016 relates to all land in Scotland. Some land, such as land on which there is an individual's home, is ineligible. More details of ineligible land can be found in the full guidance.
2. An application under Part 5 does not stop a landowner from developing their land in any way, although if the right to buy is consented to, the owner will still have to sell to the community body.
3. If you are a member of the community body's "community" as defined in their constitutional documents, you will have an opportunity to vote in a ballot that must be held no earlier than 6 months before the submission of the application.
4. Once an application is showing on the Register of Applications by Community Bodies to Buy Land, a prohibition is put in place which prevents a landowner or tenant from taking steps to dispose of the land or tenancy in the application. This prohibition lasts for a period of time that is detailed in the Right to Buy Land to Further Sustainable Development (Eligible Land, Specified Types of Area and Restrictions on Transfers, Assignations and Dealing) (Scotland) Regulations 2020. However, there are a number of excepted types of transfers or assignations which can be made.
5. A community does not need to tell a landowner or tenant that it is setting up a community body, or that it is planning on submitting an application under the Part 5 right to buy. However, the legislation requires that a community body must have requested a transfer of the land or tenancy at least six months before submitting an application using the form provided for in the Right to Buy Land to Further Sustainable Development (Eligible Land, Specified Types of Area and Restrictions on Transfers, Assignations and Dealing) (Scotland) Regulations 2020, so they will be in touch at some point and this will be a clear indication that an application under the Part 5 right to buy may follow should their request be turned down. Of course, there is nothing to stop a landowner or tenant from making contact with a community body to inquire on its activities.
6. Landowners and, where the application is in respect of a tenant's interest, tenants, are invited to comment on an application as part of the process set out in the Act. It is up to a landowner and, where applicable, tenant to decide if they wish to provide comments to Scottish Ministers.
7. There are appeal provisions which allow for the owner, tenant, community body, creditors in a standard security with a right to sell the land and members of the community to appeal the Scottish Ministers' decision to consent or not consent to the community body's application to exercise the right to buy.
8. If the application for the right to buy is consented to, then Scottish Ministers appoint an independent valuer to value the land or tenant's interest. The valuation is at "market value" as set out in the Act. The owner and, where the application is in respect of the tenant's interest, the tenant, the community body and where there is a third party purchaser, the third party purchaser have an opportunity to submit representations to the valuer as part of this process. Where the landowner or tenant and community body or third party purchaser have agreed a valuation they must notify the valuer of the value in writing. The valuation process will still proceed, but the valuation as agreed between the parties will be taken into account by the valuer. If the independent valuation is appealed, the price to be paid will be that determined by appeal to the Lands Tribunal for Scotland.
9. The community body has 6 months to complete the purchase from the date that the application is consented to, unless the assessment of the valuation has not been completed by 4 months after the consent date, or an appeal of the valuation has not been decided 4 months after the consent date, in which case the date for completion is 2 months after the date that the assessment is completed or the decision on the appeal. Any other extension to the 6 months must be agreed between the owner or tenant and the community body.
10. If a community body withdraws from a purchase or does not purchase within the agreed timeline, then the prohibition from transferring the land or tenant's interest is lifted.
11. A community body's application under the right to buy, and associated documents such as Ministers' decision notices, are made publicly available on the Register of Applications by Community Bodies to Buy Land at: https://roacbl.ros.gov.uk
12. Guidance on the right to buy is available at: https://www.gov.scot/policies/land-reform/community-right-to-buy/
The Scottish Government's Community Land Team will be happy to discuss the right to buy process with landowners and tenants, and answer any questions that they may have. Contact details for the team are provided on the back cover of this booklet.