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Community Empowerment (Scotland) Act 2015

Right to buy: application for consent

200.The new section 97G of the 2003 Act deals with the process of applying to exercise the right to buy land under Part 3A of the 2003 Act.

201.Subsection (1) provides that the right to buy eligible land (as defined in section 97C(2) of the 2003 Act) can only be exercised by a Part 3A community body. Subsection (2) specifies that the right can only be exercised with Ministers’ consent on the written application of the Part 3A community body.

202.Subsection (3) provides that a right to buy land can be exercised on multiple holdings, but separate applications must have been made for each holding of land. A holding of land is defined in subsection (4) as being a plot of land owned by one person or in common or joint ownership. Ministers may consider and make a decision on these applications separately from one another.

203.Subsection (5) specifies that an application must set out who the owner of the land is, any tenant of the land, and any creditor in a standard security with a right to sell the land or any part of it. Ministers have power to set out the required form of the application in regulations. The application must also include or be accompanied by information of the kind specified by Ministers in regulations.

204.Subsection (6) lists the matters which the Part 3A community body must include in the application or which must accompany the application. These include why a Part 3A community body’s proposed purchase is in the public interest, how it is compatible with furthering the achievement of sustainable development, and the reasons why it considers the land to be wholly or mainly abandoned or neglected or is being used or managed in such a way as to result in or cause harm to the environmental wellbeing of the relevant community. If the land is being used or managed in such a way as to cause harm to the environmental wellbeing of the relevant community, the community body is required to give to Ministers information about the request the community body has made to all relevant regulators requesting that they take action to remedy or mitigate the harm being caused to that community.

205.Subsection (7) specifies that at the same time as the Part 3A community body applies to Ministers, it must send a copy of its application form (including the associated material) to the owner of the land. It also requires the Part 3A community body to send a copy of the application to any known creditor in a standard security over the land with a right to sell and invite them to give notice, within 60 days, to the Part 3A community body and Ministers if the creditor has taken the steps mentioned in subsection (8) to enforce the security. If such notice is given, creditors must provide any views or comments they may have about the application to Ministers in writing within the 60-day period.

206.Subsection (9) provides that upon receiving the application under section 97G, Ministers must invite the owner of the land, any tenant of the land, any creditor in a standard security and any other person that may have an interest in the application to send back written comments on the application within 60 days of the Ministers’ invitation. Ministers must also take reasonable steps to invite comments from owners of land adjacent to the land to which the application relates. The community body must be sent copies of such invitations.

207.Subsection (10) specifies the additional matters which the invitation must invite the landowner to provide comment on.

208.Subsection (11) provides that Ministers must give public notice of receipt of the application as soon as practicably possible and invite views within 60 days of the publication of the notice. Subsection (12) confers a power on Ministers to make regulations to specify the form of the advertisement giving public notice of the application.

209.Subsection (13) provides that Ministers must pass all views received on to the Part 3A community body for further comment. The community body’s comments must be received within 60 days of Ministers sending the invitation to comment.

210.Subsection (14) provides that when considering whether or not to give consent to the application, Ministers must have regard to all views received with regard to the application.

211.Subsection (15) provides that Ministers must decline to consider an application that does not comply with the requirements of the new section 97G, is incomplete or where Ministers are otherwise bound to reject it. If such is the case, then Ministers are not bound to follow the steps laid out in subsection (9) to (14).

212.Subsection (16) sets constraints on the timing of the Ministers’ decision on an application. It provides that Ministers must not make any decision on the application before the end of the 60-day period within which a community may respond to a landowner’s comments, under subsection (13). Alternatively, if by the date of 60 days after the date on which the Part 3A community body may provide Ministers with a response to an invitation sent under subsection (13), the Lands Tribunal has not notified Ministers of any finding under new section 97X of the 2003 Act, Ministers must not make a decision until the date on which the Lands Tribunal provides Ministers with that finding.

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Text created by the Scottish Government to explain what the Act sets out to achieve and to make the Act accessible to readers who are not legally qualified. Explanatory Notes were introduced in 1999 and accompany all Acts of the Scottish Parliament except those which result from Budget Bills.


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