Summary of Key Changes
The community right to buy will be open to communities across Scotland (s33).
It will no longer be limited to rural land.
Changes To Community Bodies ( CB):
- As well as being able to form as a Company Limited by Guarantee, a CB will also be able to form as a Scottish Charitable Incorporated Organisation ( SCIO) or Community Benefit Society (BenCom);
- A CB must have not fewer than 10 members, rather than the current 20 members;
- At least three-quarters of the members of the CB must be members of the community, rather than the current requirement that the majority of the CB must be members of the community;
- An audit of the CB's accounts, in relation to Community Right to Buy, will no longer be necessarily required, although the CB must still ensure proper arrangements for its financial management;
- A CB's articles, constitution or registered rules must state that the CB must provide a copy of minutes of the CB's meetings if requested by any person, if the request is reasonable;
- Community support for the CB's proposals, such as an entry on a petition list, must be obtained within 6 months of the date the application is made to Ministers (s34, s38).
There will be additional options by reference to which a CB can define its community. In addition to the existing option to define a community by reference to postcode units, options to define a community will now include electoral ward, community council area, postcode area, postcode district, postcode sector, island, settlement, and locality (s34 and SSI 2015/400, reg 2).
The registration form is streamlined and made easier for CBs to complete ( SSI 2015/400, reg 4).
There is a new re-registration form introduced which simplifies the re-registration process. Ministers will also notify the CB of the impending expiry of their registered interest 12 months before the expiry of their registered interest (s37, s44 and SSI 2015/400, reg 4).
The late registration process has been amended. In order for Ministers to accept a late application, the CB will no longer be required to show why it has good reasons for not submitting a timeous application (s39).
- The CB will now be required to demonstrate what relevant work or relevant steps were carried out by a person to acquire the land before it was put up for sale.
- A late application may be accepted by Ministers if the
CB can show that it:
(i) has good reasons why the relevant work or relevant steps were not undertaken prior to the land being marketed for sale; and,
(ii) there are good reasons to allow the late application despite the lack of relevant work or relevant steps.
- If the CB which is making the application, or a similar CB, has been offered the land within the previous 12 months, and there were not good reasons why it rejected that offer, that late application would not be allowed (s39 and SSI 2015/400, reg 11).
The ballot will no longer be carried out by the CB. The ballot will now be carried out by a ballotter who is appointed by Ministers. Ministers will now meet the cost of running the ballot.
The CB is required to provide certain information to the ballotter to enable the ballotter to conduct the ballot (s51A, s51b, s51C, s52 and SSI 2015/400, regs 13-20).
The CB must notify Ministers of any changes to the name, address or contact details of the CB (s44A).
The landowner must notify Ministers of any changes to the contact details of the landowner or information relating to a creditor with a standard security over the land (s44A).
The period within which the valuation must be carried out has been extended from 6 weeks to 8 weeks to allow for a counter-representation stage to be added to the valuation process, which allows the valuer to obtain representations as to the value of the land (s60).
The timescale for completion of the transfer of land is extended from 6 months to 8 months (unless there is an appeal or a later date is agreed by the CB and owner) (s56).