While the Crofting Reform (Scotland) Act 2010 (“the 2010 Act”) was passed by the Scottish Parliament in July 2010, the vast majority of its fifty seven sections and four schedules are not yet in force. To date the indication is that the main sections of the 2010 Act will be brought into force in four or five tranches over a period of two years or more.
However, two important changes will come into force on 1 July 2011 which will impact on the crofter’s right to buy his or her croft land in terms of Sections 13 and 14 of the Crofters (Scotland) Act 1993 (“the 1993 Act”) namely:-
- Section 40 of the 2010 Act addresses the situation which enabled the crofter who wishes to exercise his or her right to buy the croft, by order of the Land Court, to nominate a non family member to take title with a view either to (i) making a substantial “turn” by selling on the croft land at market value rather than fifteen times the rent, and/or, (ii) circumventing the five year statutory claw back period. This Section now provides that “only a member of the crofter’s family may be the crofter’s nominee”. However, this amendment will not apply to any application which is made by a crofter to the Land Court to buy his or her croft land prior to 1 July 2011;
- Section 41 of the 2010 Act extends the statutory claw back period which entitles the landlord to share in any increase in the value of croft land acquired by a crofter in terms of Section 13 of the 1993 Act realised on a subsequent sale of that land, from five years to ten years. However, this amendment will not apply to any croft land acquired by virtue of a court order issued prior to 1 July 2011.
Please note however, that these amendments only relate to croft land purchases which have been ordered by the Land Court. They do not apply to private contractual arrangements entered into between a landlord and crofter.