Small landholdings in Scotland: legislation review

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

Views on the Current Small Landholding Legislation

Issues Raised

32. Of those who responded to our consultation, most small landholders and landlords consider the current small landholding legislation to be outdated and inaccessible. The general position amongst some small landholders was that they felt the current legislation made little difference to them. It is felt by landholders that the existing legislation is unbalanced, favours the landlord and has little protection and no equality for them; particularly when compared to crofters or tenant farmers. Conversely, the general position of landlords was that the legislation favoured the small landholder.

33. Due to the complexity of the legislation, both small landholders and landlords also considered that it was not generally understood by non-specialist solicitors, which they consider results in additional expense and time to navigate.

34. A significant number considered that consolidation, modernisation and simplification of the legislation is necessary. Individuals also sought more freely available information on the legislation so they could have a better understanding of their legal rights and the differences between statutory small tenants and landholders.


35. The last primary legislation on small landholdings was in 1931. While there have been some amendments made to small landholding legislation through crofting legislation there is no modern small landholding legislation. This compares unfavourably to the range of modern legislation providing support for crofting and other forms of tenant farming.


36. There are a number of ways to help achieve better understanding of small landholding legislation. The provision of a guide to the current small landholding legislation could help small landholders to gain a better understanding of the legal framework. While this work would need to be undertaken by a specialist it could provide a first step in improving knowledge.

37. Further consideration could also be given as to whether legislation could be introduced to modernise and consolidate the law in this area. One option could be that the Scottish Ministers consider requesting the Scottish Law Commission to review this area and recommend reforms.

(See Annex 2 for a list of legislation for small landholdings)


Email: Claudine Duff

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