Community right to buy: information for community bodies, landowners and other interested parties

Guidance booklet providing an overview of the Community Right to Buy process, Part 2 of the Land Reform (Scotland) Act 2003, effective from 15 April 2016.


This booklet gives an overview of the Community Right to Buy process and provides some useful hints and tips for communities thinking about using the Community Right to Buy process, or for community bodies or landowners who may be involved in a community right to buy.

Part 2 of the Land Reform (Scotland) Act 2003 (the 2003 Act), the Community Right to Buy, provides the opportunity for communities across Scotland to register an interest in land and buy that registered land, at market value, once it is offered for sale.

The 2003 Act has been amended by the Community Empowerment (Scotland) Act 2015. The changes come into effect on 15th April 2016, and the information contained in this leaflet applies only to applications to register or re-register a community interest made on or after 15 April 2016.

The Community Right to Buy has two stages:

  • Registering a community interest in land;
  • The opportunity to purchase the registered land when it is offered for sale (the "Right to Buy").

The flowcharts show the Right to Buy process from beginning to end. The stages in the flowchart show which section of the 2003 Act apply. You will also find it helpful to read the Community Right to Buy: Guidance book as amended by the Community Empowerment (Scotland) Act 2015.

Before a community can register its interest in land, it needs to form a community body ( CB). The types of legal body that a community body can be and other helpful points are included in the " Top ten tips for community bodies".

Communities will need to identify land or an asset which, if the community was to purchase, would be able to benefit it. Factors that Ministers will take into account when deciding whether to register a community interest, and whether it would be in the public interest, include any environmental, economic and social benefits. Applications to register a community interest in land should be made before the land is put on the market (a "timeous" application), although a community body can apply after the land has been placed on the market (a "late" application) but before missives are concluded. When a late application is made the community body will be required to meet additional criteria.

Community bodies will need to get evidence of support from their community for their proposals to register an interest in land. Ministers shall regard 10% community support for a CB's proposal as being sufficient evidence, although Ministers may regard less than 10% as sufficient indication of community support. If the application is a "late" application, a "significantly greater" level of community support is required than if the application is a "timeous" application.

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.

A registration lasts for 5 years. In the 6-month period before a registered interest is due to expire, an application can be made to re-register the interest in land, and if Ministers decide that the re-registration is to be recorded in the Register of Community Interests in Land ("the RCIL"), it will be re-registered for another 5 years.

When the owner of the registered land decides to sell the land, they must inform Scottish Ministers and the community body of this. The key steps which must be completed within a period of 8 months are:

  • valuation of the registered land (which is arranged by Scottish Ministers);
  • ballot of the local community (which is arranged by Scottish Ministers and carried out by a ballotter);
  • the community body must secure funds for the purchase of the land or asset; and
  • transfer of the land by the landowner or creditor to the community body following payment.


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