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The Extension of the Community Right to Buy

The Extension of the Community Right to Buy

The Community Right to Buy rules have been extended by the Community Empowerment (Scotland) Act 2015 and the Land Reform (Scotland) Bill.
The Community Right to Buy rules first introduced in the Land Reform (Scotland) Act 2003 have recently been significantly extended by the Community Empowerment (Scotland) Act 2015 and the Land Reform (Scotland) Act 2016, which received Royal Assent on 22 April 2016.

Landowners should be aware of each of the 3 separate Rights to Buy, which can now apply to any land in Scotland, whether urban or rural:

Community Right to Buy – 2003 Act (as amended)

Allows communities to register an interest in land and purchase it for market value when it comes up for sale (a right of first refusal only).
Applications for registration will be accepted where the Scottish Ministers consider that it is in the “public interest”, including any environmental, social and economic benefits.
Abandoned/Neglected Land – 2015 Act

Extends the Right to Buy to land which is “wholly or mainly abandoned or neglected” or the condition of which causes harm to the “environmental wellbeing” of the community.
Landowners can be forced to sell the land when the Scottish Ministers accept an application by a community body, even if they are unwilling or have no desire to sell.
Land for Sustainable Development – 2016 Act

Further extends the right to buy to include land which the community considers is required to further “sustainable development” that will result in significant benefit to the community.
Again, where the application by the community body is approved by the Scottish Ministers, landowners will be required to sell their land, regardless of their own wishes.
In all cases, applications by Community Bodies will be publicly registered in the new Register of Applications by Community Bodies to Buy Land.

For more information, please contact a member of our specialist Land & Rural Business team.

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