Useful Points for Landowners on the Community Right To Buy
1. The Community Right to Buy in Part 2 of the Land Reform (Scotland) Act 2003 relates to all land in Scotland (including certain salmon fishing and mineral rights), unless it is excluded land, that is, certain separate "tenements" which are owned separately from the land, such as the right to gather mussels and oysters.
2. The Community Right to Buy is a pre-emptive right to buy. It does not force a landowner to sell their land. It requires a willing seller if the land is to be sold. The right to buy is activated when the owner or creditor with the right to sell the land wishes to sell or transfer the registered land or any part of it.
3. A registered interest in land does not stop a landowner from developing their land in any way.
4. A registered community interest in land prohibits a landowner from taking steps to dispose of registered land to another party other than a community body which has registered its interest. However, there are a number of exempt transfers which can be made (s40). It is worth noting that a registered community interest may provide a landowner with a willing buyer.
5. A community does not need to tell a landowner that it is setting up a community body, or that it is submitting an application to register a community interest in land. It is up to the community body to decide whether it approaches a landowner. There is nothing to stop a landowner from making contact with a community body to inquire on its activities.
6. An application to register a community interest in land may relate to one or more parcels of land, as long as they are owned by the same person.
7. Landowners are invited to comment on an application to register a community interest in land as part of the legislative process. It is up to a landowner to decide if they wish to provide comments to Ministers.
8. There are appeal provisions which allow for the owner, community body, creditors in a standard security with a right to sell the land and members of the community to raise objections to the Ministers' decision to enter or not enter an interest in the RCIL or to consent or not consent to the exercise of the community body of the right to buy.
9. When a landowner decides to sell the registered land, the Ministers appoint an independent valuer to value the land. The valuation is at "market value" as set out in the Act. The landowner and community body may also negotiate a figure to be paid by the community body. If there is no agreement on price, the price to be paid will be the independent valuation figure. If the independent valuation is appealed, the price to be paid will be that determined by appeal to the Lands Tribunal.
10. If you withdraw from the transfer of the land without good reason after Ministers have instructed the valuer to carry out the valuation of the land, you may be liable for the cost of the valuation.
11. If you are a member of the community body's "community" as defined by it, you will have an opportunity to vote in the community ballot at the right to buy stage. A ballot is arranged by Ministers and is undertaken within 28 days of the date the independent valuation is notified to the landowner, the community body and Ministers.
12. A community body has 8 months to purchase the registered land from the time it agrees to proceed with its right to buy. Any extension to the "completion of purchase date" must be agreed between the landowner and the community body.
13. If the landowner withdraws the land from sale, the registered interest in the land will remain in place up to its expiry date. If a community body withdraws from a purchase or does not purchase within the agreed timeline, then the prohibition from selling the land is lifted and the landowner is free to dispose of the land as they see fit.
14. An approved registration of a community interest in land lasts for 5 years from the date of Ministers' approval unless a community body informs Ministers that its registered interest should be deleted, it refuses the opportunity to exercise its right to buy or changes have taken place to it which would lead Ministers to delete its registration. Community bodies have an opportunity to re-register that interest for a further 5 years on an ongoing basis.
15. A community body's registration of a community interest in land, including Ministers' decision notices, is made publicly available on the Register of Community Interests in land at: www.ros.gov.uk/services/registration/register-of-community-interests-in-land
16. Guidance on the community right to buy is available at: www.gov.scot/Topics/farmingrural/Rural/rural-land/right-to-buy/Community
17. The Scottish Government's Community Land Team will be happy to discuss the RtB process with landowners and answer any questions that they may have. Contact details for the team are provided on the back cover of this booklet.