Small landholdings in Scotland: legislation review

Review of the legislation governing small landholdings in Scotland and supporting consultation analysis.


Issues Raised

83. Small landholdings come with limited fixed equipment. The legislation does not generally provide for any infrastructure obligations on the part of the landlord. [66] This places a considerable burden on the small landholder, particularly given the income restrictions faced by many of them. This means that infrastructure in many cases does not receive adequate investment. However, the same might be said for crofting tenure.

84. Some landlords indicated that they found it extremely difficult to remove a small landholder when the individual concerned had not maintained the buildings and land to the necessary standard, this included action through the Scottish Land Court. Originally, the then Board of Agriculture would have provided loans or grants to support such maintenance, however, these schemes are no longer in place.


85. The landlord can at any time enter the holding to inspect the state of the holding, including buildings and improvements and can also access the holding for mining, quarrying, and gaming and for opening roads, fences, drains, and watercourses. [67] The reserved rights of the landlord under small landholding tenure are generally similar as regards crofting and for agricultural leases under the relevant legislation.

86. When enacted, the small landholders legislation provided for loans for certain types of infrastructure. These loans have now ended.


87. The onus placed on the small landholder to provide housing and other infrastructure appears burdensome, particularly given the restricted agricultural income of small landholders. Although the legislation enables a landlord to remove a small landholder if the buildings and land are not maintained to a certain standard, some landlords have reported to us that they have found this difficult and in practise this rarely happens.

88. There may be merit in further considering how the infrastructure burdens are balanced between the landlord and the small landholder. As the landlord did not provide the fixed equipment, any further consideration of this matter would need to take this into account, along with additional burdens which could arise upon the parties.


Email: Claudine Duff

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