Right to Buy
45. Small landholders do not have a pre-emptive right to buy  or an absolute right to buy  their holding. Some small landholders view this as unfair when compared with crofters and tenant farmers with secure 1991 Act agricultural tenancies.
46. The legislation does not provide for a right to buy for landholdings or small statutory tenancies. A statutory right for crofters to buy their croft was first introduced in 1976, but that only applied to crofts which had been removed from the small landholdings regimes under the 1955 Act. Similarly the pre-emptive right to buy which was given to secure 1991 Act agricultural tenancies in 2003 has not been extended to small landholders.
47. Some small landholders perceive it as unfair that they are treated differently from other tenancy types on this issue. Tenant farmers with secure 1991 Act agricultural tenancies have a pre-emptive right to buy their holding and crofters have an absolute right to buy their holding; small landholders have neither. This has been raised as an issue by both the Agricultural Holdings Legislation Review Group ( AHLRG) and the Land Reform Review Group. The AHLRG recommended that small landholders should be given a pre-emptive right to buy  and the Land Reform Review Group went further and recommended that small landholders should, like crofters be given a statutory right to buy their holdings at 15 times its annual rent. 
48. Further thought could be given to whether a pre-emptive right to buy for small landholders should or could be introduced. However, careful consideration would need to be given to the benefits of such a proposal and how it could operate in practice.
49. Generally, where small landholders and their landlord have in the past agreed to the purchase of the small landholding by the landholder, it is has been removed from the small landholding regime. Any decision to explore offering small landholders a right to buy would need to be balanced against any possible benefits of retaining small landholdings as a form of land tenure.
50. Finally, it should be noted that there are still two small landholdings owned by Scottish Ministers and a small number owned by the Crown Estate. The Scottish Government has in the past enabled many of the small landholdings they owned to be sold to sitting small landholders.
(see also Conversion section)
Email: Claudine Duff
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