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Community right to buy land: a PSG update

16 July 18

The Property Standardisation Group has amended some of its documents to take account of the new community right to buy abandoned or neglected land

by Property Standardisation Group

On 27 June 2018, communities obtained a new right to buy land (or a building) that is abandoned, neglected or causing environmental harm. Unlike the traditional right to buy, the new right is triggered immediately, without the owner of the land having to put the land on the market. The community body must however have tried, and failed, to buy the land direct from the owner, before they can apply to Scottish ministers to exercise the right.

The Property Standardisation Group has updated its offers to sell, to provide wording that addresses the possibility of an application by a community body during negotiations for the sale and purchase of a property, since the appearance of an application in the new Register of Applications by Community Bodies to Buy Land means the owner is prohibited from taking any action to transfer the land. The accompanying guidance notes have also been amended. 

In particular, only the offer to sell with vacant possession contains the full-blown wording. The PSG took the view that since the investment offer caters for property that is let, and therefore in productive use, the right to buy criteria will not apply, so this offer only contains a default clause – that the land is not abandoned, neglected or detrimental within the meaning of the regulations. Should this not be the case, the drafter can adopt the vacant possession offer wording. 

If a community application is made but missives for sale have already been concluded, the sale may proceed, and the disposition in implement of the missives must contain a declaration to that effect. This requirement also applies to other exempt categories, such as gifts or group company transfers. The PSG multi-option disposition has been updated with suitable wording.

An article on the new right to buy, by Ann Stewart of Shepherd & Wedderburn and the PSG, is available here. 

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