Community right to buy abandoned, neglected or detrimental land: information leaflet for community bodies

An overview of the community right to buy abandoned, neglected or detrimental land process for community bodies, landowners and other interested parties regarding applications.


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

Part 3A of the Land Reform (Scotland) Act 2003 (“the 2003 Act”), the Community Right to Buy ANDL, provides the opportunity for communities across Scotland to apply for a compulsory right to buy ANDL, at market value.

The flowcharts on pages 5 and 6 show the Right to Buy ANDL process from beginning to end.

The stages in the flowchart show which sections of the 2003 Act apply.

Before a community can submit a Part 3A application for consideration by Scottish Ministers, it needs to form a community body (CB). The types of entity that a CB can be and other helpful points are included in the “Top 12 tips for community bodies” on page 3.

A ballot of the eligible voters in the CB’s defined area must be undertaken within six months before the date the application is made to Scottish Ministers. You may seek to undertake the ballot yourselves or may wish to consider seeking professional advice or services. Within 14 days of the ballot, the CB must publish the results in a digital or paper edition of a newspaper circulating in the area and if you have a publicly accessible website or webpage, on that also.

The CB must notify Scottish Ministers of the ballot result within 21 days of the ballot taking place. If you are submitting the application for consent to Scottish Ministers within 21 days of carrying out the ballot you may include the ballot result and supporting documents as part of the application. A form for submitting the ballot result to Scottish Ministers can be found at /policies/land-reform/community-right-to-buy/.

If you are seeking to acquire land due the use or management of the land resulting in or causing harm to the environmental wellbeing of the community, then you will have to provide evidence in the application that you have contacted any relevant regulator(s). You must state what actions they have taken to remedy the harm (or action that is causing the harm) to the community.

For any application you will have to provide evidence of the steps taken by the CB to acquire the land from the current owner, prior to the application.

CBs can submit an application for a wide range of land such as woodlands, forests, fields, reservoirs, public houses, churches, schools and community centres.

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.

If Scottish Ministers grant consent to proceed with the acquisition, the CB must secure funds for the purchase of the land or asset; and complete the transfer of the land within six month of consent being given, or by a later date if agreed by both the owner and the CB.


Email: Community Land Team

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