Community right to buy
Community right to buy allows communities in Scotland to apply to register an interest in land and the opportunity to buy that land when it comes up for sale.
- how to form a community body
- apply to register an interest
- registration process
- right to buy process
- community right to buy abandoned, neglected or detrimental land
How to form a community body
Before you submit an application, you must receive a compliance letter from Scottish Ministers confirming that the community body’s governing document is compliant with all of the provisions of the relevant part(s) of the Land Reform (Scotland) Act 2003.
We have produced the following templates and guidance on how to form a community body compliant with the Land Reform (Scotland) Act 2003, and how to apply to register an interest:
- Company Limited by Guarantee (CLBG): model template and guidance
- Scottish Charitable Incorporated Organisation (SCIO): model template and guidance
- Community right to buy: guidance for applications made on or after 15 April 2016
We have also produced the following information leaflet to provide a brief overview of the process involved:
We also offer direct assistance to community groups wishing to acquire land, as well as owners and interested third parties. We can look over draft applications and provide additional guidance on anything related to the right to buy process.
We have produced a community mapping tool, which can assist communities to define their communities, as required by the legislation. We have also published community mapping tool guidance.
We have also produced a short animation aimed at giving an overview of the steps involved in the Community Right to Buy.
Apply to register an interest
A community body wishing to apply to register an interest under Community Right to Buy is required to complete a community right to buy application form.
In addition, the community body is required to demonstrate a level of community support alongside its application. We have produced a petition list template which you may wish to use.
Completed application forms, including maps, a petition showing community support and supporting documentation, should be sent to CRTB@gov.scot.
After an application has been submitted to Scottish Ministers and passed initial checks to ensure compliance, we forward it to the landowner and any heritable creditor for their comments. A temporary Prohibition is placed on the landowner or creditor preventing them from taking steps to transfer or dispose of the land. Ministers will consider any comments submitted when deciding whether to approve or reject the application.
If the application is approved, the registration will remain over the land for five years with the chance to re-register that interest every five years on a rolling basis.
An application can be extended by a further five years by applying to re-register the interest within six months of the expiry date. A community body must apply using the re-registration form. The process is explained in the community right to buy guidance.
Register of Community Interest in Land
The Land Reform (Scotland) Act 2003 stipulated that the Keeper of the Registers of Scotland (RoS) should set up and maintain a Register of Community Interests in Land (RCIL).
The RCIL allows anyone to see all community body applications, their supporting documents and their status. Some documents may not be included on the RCIL due to data protection laws, but can be requested from the Community Land Team.
Due to unforeseen circumstances the RCIL is not currently available for public inspection. If you require access to any information or documents contained on the register then please contact the Registers of Scotland customer services team (email@example.com) who can provide you with any information or document free of charge.
Right to buy process
The right to buy can only be activated when the landowner has indicated that the registered land is to be transferred, or when the provisions of the Act are breached. The landowner must complete a Schedule 6 form notifying the community body and Scottish Ministers that they propose to transfer the land.
If the right to buy is activated and the community body decides to proceed, we take the group through the right to buy process. As part of this, ministers will appoint and pay for an independent valuer to determine the market value of the land.
Following the valuation, ministers will appoint and pay for a ballotter to ballot the defined community. Once a ballotter has been appointed, the community body must complete a Schedule 10 form providing all relevant information to the ballotter. The results will form part of the right to buy application, along with any evidence provided to support the proposals, such as a business plan or feasibility study. A community body must submit this evidence using the Schedule 12 form.
Should ministers give consent to proceed with the right to buy, the community body will have eight months from the date they confirmed they wished to proceed (or longer if agreed between both parties) to conclude the transfer of the land.
See slides of presentation about community land ownership from The Gathering 2019 event in Glasgow.
Community Land Team
The Community Land Team are currently working from home. Community bodies and other interested parties are advised to contact the team by emailing the firstname.lastname@example.org mailbox. Community bodies can also send applications via email, but these will only be dealt with if all relevant contact details in the application have an email address.