Register an agricultural interest in land

This guidance covers the registration of an agricultural interest in land.

The Register of Community Interests in Land allows people holding tenancies under the Agricultural Holdings (Scotland) Act 1991 to register interests in acquiring the land comprised in their leases.

Registration gives tenants the right to buy the land when the landowner next proposes or takes action to transfer it.

To register an interest in land, you need to complete a notice of interest [PDF, 39KB] and send it to us with the appropriate fee.

The notice of interest is a statutory form and a requirement for the registration of all interests in land.

You’ll also need to send a completed notice of interest and all associated documents to the owner of the land in question.

Fees

Registration of a tenant’s interest: £40

Subsequent registration of an existing or previously registered interest: £25

Application checklist

Before you submit your notice of interest, you should:

  • complete all questions on the form in accordance with this guidance
  • sign the notice of interest and all plans or other annexations describing location and boundaries
  • number all pages
  • include all additional documentation to support your application
  • include a cheque for the appropriate fee
  • send a copy of the notice of interest and all associated documents to the landowner
  • secure consent of all other tenants

Send your completed notice of interest and cheque to:

The Keeper of the Registers of Scotland
Meadowbank House
153 London Road
Edinburgh EH8 7AU

You can also present your notice of interest in person at our Edinburgh customer service centre.

Completing the form

Failure to complete the form correctly could result in the rejection of your application.

The form contains a number of sections:

Presented by (name and address)

You should only complete this section if you’re a solicitor completing the form on a tenant’s behalf.

Existing or previously registered interest

You can apply to re-register an interest in land any time after the original registration date, even after the original registration has expired.

You’ll need to include the number of the existing or previous interest in your application for re-registration. It’s not usually necessary to repeat information given in an earlier registration where this is unchanged.

Applications for re-registration should include any information which has been modified since the previous notice of interest

Re-registration of an existing or previously registered interest may not be appropriate in all cases.

Part A: Applicant details

Enter the details of the applicant in this section.

The applicant must be a tenant in terms of the Agricultural Holdings (Scotland) Act 1991, except in the special case of limited partnerships.

If the landowner is the limited partner and the farmer the general partner, the farmer may register a notice of interest as if he was the tenant. In this case, the farmer’s details should be entered here.

If the lease has been granted to a limited company or firm, you should enter its name here. The application should be made by or on behalf of the company or partnership.

Enter the details of any additional applicants in Part G (i).

Part B: Tenant details

Enter the details of any tenants not specified in the applicant details section. You should not include any tenants from parts A or G(i).

If the application is for a general partner in a limited partnership, enter the details of the partnership here. The limited partnership is considered the tenant.

Enter the details of any additional tenants in Part G (ii).

Part C: Landowner details

Enter the name of the land’s owner.

The name of a factor or agent is not sufficient. Where active management of the tenancy is by a factor or land agent, you can enter the address as c/o the agent’s address.

Enter the details of any additional landowners in Part G (iii).

Part D: Details of the land being registered

Enter the name of the land, farm or estate in the first box.

In the second box, enter the name of the county. Here you must enter the county as it stood before the local government reorganisation in 1975, and not the current local authority.

Use the town and counties guide [PDF, 647KB] to find your correct county. In most cases, looking up the nearest town or village to the holding will provide details of the relevant county.

In the third box, enter the land’s postcode. If you don’t have a full postcode, enter the first part, such as KY11, EH49 or KW15.

Find a postcode on the Royal Mail website.

If you’ve enclosed any maps or drawings with your notice of interest, enter the total number of these in the fourth box.

Describe the location and boundaries of the land in the final box. You should ideally include reference to a plan with the boundaries of the land clearly marked.

If you’re only using a verbal description, make sure that description:

  • can be understood by a third party with no special knowledge
  • refers to approximate measurements and physical features as appropriate
  • sets out both the general location and describes the boundaries all around the property

It’s usually in your interest to give as detailed a description as possible.

A description solely by reference to field numbers will not be sufficient.

Examples of acceptable descriptions

Yenasby Farm, Sandwick, Orkney, being the land edged red on the attached plan.

Kindrogan Farm, Blairgowrie, being the land bounded by a line beginning on the south side of the A924 road, opposite Straloch primary school, extending in a southwest direction for approximately 500 metres to the edge of Kindrogan Wood; proceeding southeast along the edge of Kindrogan Wood for approximately 1500 metres; from there northeast for approximately 400 metres to the A924 road, and continuing in the same direction for approximately 700 metres; then northwest for approximately 1,270 metres; southwest for approximately 680 metres to meet the A924 road; west along the road for approximately 160 metres to meet the starting point.

Land bounded on the west by the housing estate known as Spencerfield, Inverkeithing; on the northwest by Hillend Road, Inverkeithing; on the north by the A921 road; on the east by Letham Hill Wood; and on the south by the access road to Preston Hill quarry.

Examples of unacceptable descriptions

Farm and lands of Muttonhall, Kirkcaldy.

Cowpark Farm, lying to the east of Sauchie, Clackmannanshire, and to the west of Gartmorn Dam.

Burghmuir Farm, Linlithgow, being Burghmuir farm house and field numbers 411, 412, 413 and 415.

40 hectares bounded by Luther Water and Gaugers Burn, Laurencekirk.

Any plan or additional sheet of verbal description to support your notice of interest must be mentioned in your application form and signed.

For example, a plan must be marked ‘this is the plan referred to in my notice of interest’ and signed by the person who signed the notice of interest.

Part E: Rights

Enter any further interest or rights comprised in the land, including mineral or sporting rights.

Part F: Declaration and undertaking

Either the applicant or an agent of the applicant must sign the form. This verifies that the facts listed in Part F are true. Read them carefully before you sign.

Part G: Additional information

Here you must include any additional information to support your notice of interest.

Part G(i) - Additional applicants

Part G(ii) - Additional tenants

Part G (iii) - Additional landowners

Part G (iv) - Additional information

Next steps

Checking your notice

Once we’ve received your notice, we’ll check to make sure it’s completed in accordance with statutory requirements.

If your notice of interest in order, we’ll register your interest in acquiring land in the Register of Community Interests in Land. We aim to process all applications within seven working days of receipt.

If the form is illegible or missing any information, we’ll return the application to the applicant or presenting solicitor.

We won’t check the accuracy of the information you provide.

While we will check whether the description of the location and boundaries of the land appear to be up to an acceptable standard, we won’t check if the information is a correct description of the land covered in the lease.

It’s therefore up to the applicant to make sure the information given is correct.

If you provide incorrect or inaccurate information, the registration may be rescinded and you may lose your right to buy.

After registration

Once we’ve registered your notice of interest, we’ll send out an extract of registration to each tenant and landowner narrated on the form.

This extract is simply a copy of the information which has been entered onto the register.

The landowner will then have the opportunity to challenge the registration of the tenant’s interest if they consider any matter in the extract is inaccurate.

We give each registered interest a unique reference consisting of a number preceded by the letters ‘AT’. Landowners and tenants should quote this number in any correspondence with us regarding registered interests.

Effect of registration

For the duration of the registration, the tenant has the right to buy the land comprised in the lease whenever the landowner gives notice that they propose to transfer the land.

Or, if the landowner fails to give such notice when the landowner takes any action with a view to transfer the land (or part of it).

See Part 2 of the Agricultural Holdings (Scotland) Act 2003 for more provisions detailing how the tenant’s purchase is to proceed, including fixing a price where it can’t be agreed between landlord and tenant. We can’t advise on these provisions.

Where the landlord gives notice or takes an action triggering the right to buy, it’s usually in the tenant’s interests to seek legal advice without delay.

Duration of registration

A registration expires five years after the date of registration. It’s possible to re-register an interest after five years has passed.

We intend to send tenants reminders when a registration’s expiry date draws near.

We cannot accept liability for any consequence of a reminder not being sent or received.

Re-registration is a tenant’s sole responsibility.

Re-registering an interest

To re-register an interest in land, you’ll need to submit another notice of interest for a reduced fee of £25.

Re-registration is only possible where the same lease continues in force. If there’s a new lease on the land, you’ll need to include a fully completed registration application and pay a full £40 fee.

Inaccuracies

When a notice of interest is registered, we send an extract to the tenant and landowner.

The landowner is able to challenge in writing the registration of the tenant’s interest on the basis that any matter contained in the extract is inaccurate. This notice of challenge will be added to the register.

Under the Agricultural Holdings (Scotland) Act 1991, we’re required to make appropriate enquiries when these challenges are made.

If the registered information is shown to be inaccurate, we’ll rescind the registration of the tenant’s interest. We may amend the registration in the case of more minor inaccuracies.

We’ll inform both the tenant and landowner of the outcome of any challenge and add the details of our decision to the register.

If the registration is amended, we’ll send new extracts to the landowner and tenant.

Either party may appeal to the Land Court against our decision.

When the landowner decides to transfer

The tenant’s right to buy comes into effect if any part of the land is to be sold or transferred.

This can come about in two ways:

  • the landowner may decide to sell
  • a creditor of the owner, whose debt is secured over the land, may take action to enforce the debt by selling the land

Where either of these events occurs, the landowner or creditor must give the tenant notice in writing of the proposal to transfer to another person. The landowner or creditor must also send us a copy of this notice to be added to the register.

The tenant then has 28 days to give notice to the owner or creditor that they want to buy the land. The tenant must also send us a copy of this notice to be added to the register.

If the landowner or creditor takes any action with a view to transfer of the land without giving the required notice to the tenant, the tenant has the right to buy the land.

If the land is sold without notice to the tenant despite the tenant having registered a notice of interest, the tenant can exercise the right to buy against the buyer by giving notice within three years of the sale. The tenant should send us a copy of this notice, which we will add to the register.

Not all transfers by the landowner will give rise to a right to buy. For example, a transfer where no money is paid does not trigger the tenant’s right.

See section 27 of the Agricultural Holdings (Scotland) Act 2003 for details of all transfers where the right to buy does not apply.


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