Right to buy for 1991 Act tenants

As of 2004, 1991 Act agricultural tenants can formally register their interest in buying the land they rent from their landlord.

This content applies to Scotland

Right to buy process

Tenants interested in buying their holding at any point in the future should send a notice of interest to the Keeper of the Register of Community Interests in Land. [1] The tenant must also send a copy of the notice to their landlord. [2]

Notices can be downloaded from Registers of Scotland, and there is a small fee for registering. [3] In order to remain on the register, the tenant must renew their registration every five years, [4] which will also incur a small fee.

Landlord decides to sell the land

Once the tenant has registered interest, their landlord must notify the tenant if s/he decides to sell the land. [5]

Tenant decides to buy the land

If the tenant decides s/he is in a position to buy the land, s/he must notify the landlord of their intention to buy the land within 28 days of receiving notice of the proposed sale of the land. [6] The tenant must then make the landlord an offer. [7] This should include the price s/he proposes to pay, the entry date and any other conditions. [8] The tenant will need to employ a solicitor to draw up the offer and carry out the conveyancing work involved in transferring ownership of the land.

If the tenant and landlord cannot agree on a price, they can appoint an independent valuer to assess how much the land is worth. [9] If either party disagrees with the valuation set, s/he can appeal to the Lands Tribunal for Scotland. [10]

Tenant decides against buying the land

If at any point the tenant decides not to buy the land, s/he must send a notice to their landlord, and a copy of the notice to the Keeper of the Register of Community Interests. [11] The tenant continues to be an agricultural tenant and although her/his right to buy will be removed from the register, s/he can re-register again after 12 months. [12]

Landlord sells without informing the tenant

If the tenant has registered interest but their landlord fails to send them a notice informing the tenant that they are selling the land, this does not affect the tenant's right to buy. [13] If the landlord sells the land to someone else, the tenant has the right to buy it from the new owner for three years after the sale.[14]

Some transfers do not trigger the right to buy, including situations where:

  • the landlord transfers ownership of the land to their spouse as part of a divorce or separation settlement

  • the landlord's estate is sequestered

  • the land is bought through a compulsory purchase order. [15]

Last updated: 11 February 2021


  • [1]

    s.25(1) Agricultural Holdings (Scotland) Act 2003

  • [2]

    s.25(4) Agricultural Holdings (Scotland) Act 2003

  • [3]

    s.25(7) Agricultural Holdings (Scotland) Act 2003

  • [4]

    s.25(12)(b)(iii) Agricultural Holdings (Scotland) Act 2003

  • [5]

    s.26(1) Agricultural Holdings (Scotland) Act 2003

  • [6]

    s.29(2) Agricultural Holdings (Scotland) Act 2003

  • [7]

    s.32(1) Agricultural Holdings (Scotland) Act 2003

  • [8]

    s.32(2) Agricultural Holdings (Scotland) Act 2003

  • [9]

    s.33(1) Agricultural Holdings (Scotland) Act 2003

  • [10]

    s.37(1) Agricultural Holdings (Scotland) Act 2003

  • [11]

    s.29(5) Agricultural Holdings (Scotland) Act 2003

  • [12]

    s.31 Agricultural Holdings (Scotland) Act 2003

  • [13]

    s.28(1) Agricultural Holdings (Scotland) Act 2003

  • [14]

    s.28(2) Agricultural Holdings (Scotland) Act 2003

  • [15]

    A complete list can be found in s.27(1) Agricultural Holdings (Scotland) Act 2003