After some years of discussion and consultation, the Long Leases (Scotland) Bill has been published. This reform is part of an established programme to modernise Scots Property Law.
What is the Bill about?
In a nutshell, once the Bill becomes an Act, qualifying long leases will be converted to outright ownership on a date to be appointed.
What is a qualifying lease?
A registered lease with a duration of 175 years or more, of which at least 100 years is still to run.
Are any leases excluded?
- Leases with an annual rent exceeding £100;
- Leases of minerals;
- Leases of land for the sole purpose of providing access to pipes or cables.
What will be the appointed day?
Whitsunday (28 May) or Martinmas (28 November) occurring on or after the day two years after the day on which a particular section of the Bill comes into force. The two year lead-in time will give landlords and tenants of long leases time to consider their respective positions under the legislation.
What will happen to conditions in a qualifying lease?
Some conditions of long leases will be converted into real burdens on the appointed day. Monetary obligations and irritancy provisions cannot be converted into real burdens. Other conditions will simply disappear.
Will compensation be payable to the landlord?
Yes, if the landlord submits a claim.
It is estimated that there are in the region of 9000 leases in Scotland which may qualify for conversion. Most will be for a period of between 175 and 999 years, although a tack (an old form of lease) of 9000 years’ duration has been spotted!
Landlords and tenants of leases which may be affected by this legislation should consider their position and, if appropriate, seek advice as to the implications for them.