Skip to main content

Crofting subtenants' rights

This page explains your rights if you're a subtenant, renting a croft house or croft land from a crofting tenant.

What are my rights if I'm a subtenant?

If you're a subtenant, you don't have the full rights of a crofter or agricultural tenant. For example, you can't apply to assign or sublet the tenancy, and you can't leave it to someone in your will. However, you must stick to the statutory conditions, set out in the Crofting Acts. If you don't, you may be evicted from the land.

When you take on the tenancy, the Crofters Commission will give you and the tenant you're subletting from a contract or 'missive' containing required and suggested terms and conditions for the lease. For example, the missive should set out your agreement over:

  • how long your subtenancy will last
  • how much rent you'll pay
  • who will be responsible for maintaining buildings, fences, ditches and other fixed equipment
  • what you'll use the land for
  • whether you'll receive any compensation for improvements you've made to the croft when your subtenancy ends.

Before you sign the contract, it's a good idea to talk to a solicitor who specialises in crofting law and ask them to explain anything you don't understand.

How long will my subtenancy last?

It's up to you and the tenant subletting the croft to agree on the length of your tenancy. However, it can't last longer than 10 years. The tenancy will automatically end when the time agreed is up. However, you and the crofter can agree to end the tenancy sooner if necessary.

Can I get a fair rent set?

You and the crofter must agree on rent levels between you – the Crofters Commission don't have any power to intervene. This means you can't apply to the Commission for a fair rent.

Can I carry out any improvements to the land?

If you want to carry out any improvements to the land (for example, building outhouses or barns, fences, walls or ditches), you'll need to ask the crofting tenant's permission first. Make sure that you agree on how much compensation you'll get for the work on the croft when your tenancy ends, and that you record this agreement in writing.

Can I apply for any grants?

You can apply for a grant from the Crofting Counties Agricultural Grants (Scotland) Scheme (CCAGS), to carry out improvements to the land.

What if the crofter's tenancy ends?

If the crofter's tenancy ends before your lease expires, your tenancy will end as well.  Therefore, if the crofter is going to end their tenancy by giving up, assigning, exchanging or dividing the croft, they must give you at least six months' written notice first.

If the crofter's tenancy ends for some other reason (for example, if they go bankrupt, or are evicted for breaking any of the statutory conditions), you can apply to the Crofters Commission for permission to remain on the land for up to a year. You must put in your application within one month of the tenancy coming to an end, although, in certain circumstances, the Commission may let you apply within three months of the tenancy ending. During this time, you can't be evicted from the land.

Where can I find out more?

You can download a leaflet with more information about sublets from the Crofters Commission website.

Scotland map Housing laws differ between Scotland and England.
This content applies to Scotland only.
Get advice if you're in England

The important points

  • Subtenants don't have the full rights of a crofter or agricultural tenant.
  • It's up to tenant and the tenant subletting the croft to agree on the length of a tenancy. However, it can't last longer than 10 years.
  • The rent is agreed between the tenant and subtenant, the Croters Commission don't have any power to intervene.
  • If the crofter's tenancy ends before the subtenants lease expires, then the subtenancy will end as well.

If you're still looking for help, try searching, or find out how to contact us