Community right to buy abandoned, neglected or detrimental land: information for landowners and creditors

Information for landowners and creditors in relation Part 3A of the Land Reform (Scotland) Act 2003 relating to community right to buy abandoned, neglected or detrimental land.

Community Right To Buy Abandoned, Neglected or Detrimental Land: Information for Landowners and Creditors

What is the Community Right To Buy "Abandoned, Neglected or Detrimental Land" (ANDL)?

  • The community right to buy ANDL is a process under Part 3A of the Land Reform (Scotland) Act 2003 for community bodies ("CB") throughout Scotland to apply for a right to purchase land. If consent to an application is granted, the land can be purchased compulsorily.
  • CBs can apply for consent to acquire the right to purchase any land. Land can include bridges and other structures built on or over land, inland waters, canals and the foreshore.
  • Scottish Ministers must be satisfied that the land is eligible either because it is wholly or mainly abandoned or neglected, or because the use or management is such that it results in or causes harm to the environmental wellbeing of the community. There are a number of types of land which are ineligible, for example, land held by a Minister of the Crown or government department and land that forms the curtilage of the home.
  • Where Scottish Ministers consent to an application, the sale is compulsory and does not require a willing seller.
  • The community right to buy ANDL should only be used where the community has identified abandoned, neglected or detrimental land and has proposals for that land that could further the achievement of sustainable development.

To be aware:

  • The community right to buy ANDL is aimed at giving communities a process by which they can address the issue of land which is abandoned, neglected or detrimental. There are other rights to buy that can give groups the opportunity to purchase land.
  • All options should be considered by a community prior to submitting an application under the community right to buy ANDL (for example, working in partnership with the landowner or agreeing a lease). The community right to buy ANDL requires that the CB has tried and failed to buy the land and has contacted any relevant regulator(s) prior to submitting an application (where the land is considered to be detrimental).
  • Please note that if there are multiple titles, even if each is owned by the same person (or commonly or jointly owned by the same people) the CB must submit an application for each individual title.

What the Community Right To Buy "ANDL" is not

  • It is not intended to be used as a means to block or blight developments on land (e.g. "NIMBY"). Concerns about developments should be addressed through the appropriate channels.
  • It is not intended to be used to stop a landowner from developing their land if the community disagree with their plans. These concerns should be addressed through the appropriate channels.
  • It is not intended to be used as a means to prevent or block other interested parties from purchasing land.
  • An application is not meant to preserve the status quo. The application needs to show sustainable development benefits for the land.

To be aware:

  • Where an application to acquire land appears to demonstrate any of the points noted above, Scottish Ministers may decline to consider the application.

Steps to be taken by a community body before submitting a Community Right To Buy ANDL Application

The CB must complete the steps below before they are able to submit a community right to buy ANDL application. Should you receive an application under the community right to buy ANDL and you are aware that any of the steps below have not been completed by the CB then you should inform Scottish Ministers in any response you make in relation to the application.

Compliant Body

The CB must be constituted in one of three forms: a company limited by guarantee, a Scottish charitable incorporated organisation, or a community benefit society.

It must be registered with Companies House, the Office of the Scottish Charities Regulator, or the Financial Conduct Authority, as appropriate.

The CB must be compliant with Section 97D of the Land Reform (Scotland) Act 2003 and Scottish Ministers must have given written confirmation to the body that they are satisfied that the main purpose of the body is consistent with furthering the achievement of sustainable development before an ANDL application can be submitted. It would be helpful if this confirmation could be included in the application.

Evidence of trying to acquire the land

The CB will have to provide evidence of the steps taken by them to acquire the land prior to submitting a community right to buy ANDL application. The CB should contact you as the owner to try to purchase the land. The offer should be reasonable and the CB needs to provide evidence of the terms of the offer they have made in their application.

Community support

A ballot of the eligible voters in the community's defined area must be undertaken during the six months immediately prior to the date that the application is made to Scottish Ministers. The CB may seek to undertake the ballot themselves or they may wish to consider seeking professional advice or services. Within 14 days of the ballot the CB must publish the results in an online or paper edition of a newspaper circulating in the area and on any publically accessible website or webpage if such a website or webpage exists.

The ballot result must be submitted to Scottish Ministers within 21 days of the ballot taking place. If the application by the CB is being made before the expiry of that period, the ballot result and supporting documents must form part of the application.

Relevant regulator

If the CB are seeking the right to acquire land because the use or management of the land is such that it is resulting in or causing harm to the environmental wellbeing of the community, then the CB will have to provide evidence in the application that they have contacted any relevant regulator(s) and state what actions that regulator has taken to remedy the harm (or action that is causing the harm) to the community. If you, as the owner, have been in correspondence with a relevant regulator, you may wish to include this as part of a response to the application.

The Consent Process/Timescales

Stage 1: A compliant application is received by Scottish Ministers. This includes the ballot results if these have not already been notified to Scottish Ministers.

Stage 2: CB also send copies of the full application to you, and any heritable creditors. Scottish Ministers send notification of the application to you (and any creditors and/or tenants), and invite you, any creditor, tenants and adjacent landowners (plus any other party as determined by Scottish Ministers) to provide views on the application. Once the application appears as pending on the Register of Applications by Community Bodies to Buy Land, a prohibition on any transfer of the land, or any action being taken with a view to transfer of the land begins.

Stage 3: You, any creditor and other parties have 60 days from the date of the invitation to reply and provide views on the application (if you wish).

Stage 4: If views are received, these will be forwarded to the CB who will be invited to provide comments within 60 days from the date of that invitation.

Stage 5: The CB, owner, creditor, adjacent landowners and other parties will be notified of the Scottish Ministers' decision. Scottish Ministers cannot make a decision on the case before a further 60 days have passed, from the last day of the previous 60 day period (the minimum number of days from receipt of application is 180).

Stage 6: If consent to the application is granted, a valuation of the land is undertaken by an independent valuer, appointed within 7 days of the granting of consent by Scottish Ministers. The valuer will have 8 weeks to produce this report. The valuation can be appealed to the Lands Tribunal for Scotland within 21 days of the notification date.

Stage 7: The CB, owner, creditor or member of the community can appeal the Scottish Ministers' decision by lodging an appeal with the sheriff court within 28 days of the date of the decision.

Stage 8: If consent is granted, the CB will have 6 months from the decision date to complete the transfer, or later, by agreement. If consent is not given, Scottish Ministers will remove the prohibition placed on the land at a point in time detailed in the community right to buy Regulations (2018/201) (which day will depend on which circumstances specified in the Regulations apply in the particular case)

To be aware:

  • Any failure by Scottish Ministers to comply with the timescales within which they must make their decision does not affect the validity of their decision.

The price to be paid for the land

As part of the valuation process, the valuer will invite representations from both the owner and the CB about the value of the land. Cross representation also forms part of this process so both parties have a chance to comment on the submissions made by the other party to the valuer.

The consideration is as assessed by the independent valuer, appointed by Scottish Ministers or:

  • if the valuation is appealed, an amount to be determined by the Lands Tribunal for Scotland.

The date of entry and payment of the consideration must be within six months from the date of Scottish Ministers decision to consent to the acquisition of the land, however a later date can be agreed by both parties.

To be aware:

  • Any failure by Scottish Ministers to comply with the timescales does not affect the validity of their decision.

Whilst a community right to buy ANDL application is being considered you can still rent, develop and use the land in whatever way you wish, whilst ensuring that you fully comply with any relevant law, such as planning legislation.

  • There are exemptions to the prohibition which allow you to transfer land in certain circumstances e.g. transfer as a gift, or certain transfers between spouses or civil partners. Please see the community right to buy Regulations (2018/201 for further details on exempt transfers).
  • If you make a transfer of land which is permitted, you must inform Scottish Ministers of the transfer and provide the details of the new landowner.
  • If your contact details or information relating to a creditor in a standard security change you must inform Scottish Ministers.

Useful Links

The Community Right To Buy page:

Register of Community Interests in Land:

Land Reform (Scotland) Act 2003:

The Community Right To Buy (Abandoned, Neglected or Detrimental Land) (Eligible Land, Regulators and Restrictions on Transfers and Dealing) (Scotland) Regulations 2018:

How to get in touch

By post to:

Scottish Government
Community Land Team
Q Spur, Saughton House
Broomhouse Drive
EH11 3XD

By telephone: 0300 244 9822
By email:

Data Protection

In order to consider an application on the register, there is a requirement to process the personal data provided within any documentation received by Scottish Ministers in relation to that right to buy. The basis for processing this personal data is in accordance with Article 6(1)(c) and/or Article 6(1)(e) of the General Data Protection Regulations (GDPR).

When a community body submits a compliant application under the community right to buy land legislation, the application is entered onto the register. During this process, the community body is required to provide certain information about itself and those who own the land. This information will be used to assess whether the application for consent to exercise the right to buy is approved by Scottish Ministers.

All personal data will be redacted before appearing on the register. The data will be used to assist the Scottish Ministers to determine whether the land purchase should receive consent to proceed.

The data captured will be kept on the register as a record of the application and any decisions. This information is used by other community bodies as a source of information and guidance for their own applications, as well as a historic record of community rights to buy.

What are your rights?

If at any point you believe the information we process on you is incorrect you can request to see this information through a subject access request.

You may have a right to have this information corrected, deleted and to object to or restrict the processing of the information held.

If you wish to raise a complaint on how your personal data is handled, you can contact the Scottish Government Data Protection Officer ( who will investigate the matter.

If you are not satisfied with the response or believe we are not processing your personal data in accordance with the law you can complain to the Information Commissioner's Office (ICO).

The Information Commissioner's Office - Scotland
45 Melville Street

Phone: 0303 123 1115


Email: Community Land Team

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