Title conditions and the right to buy

The Title Conditions (Scotland) Act 2003 is not a very exciting piece of legislation to some, so those readers will be grateful this is a very short piece.

As avid real burden spotters will know, the Scottish Parliament’s Justice Committee began an “Inquiry into the effectiveness of the provisions in the Title Conditions (Scotland) Act 2003“, with a Call for Evidence that closed on 26 February. Notwithstanding the occasional heckle that I may have uttered about sections 52 and 53 of that Act, I was not moved to respond, but the Law Society of Scotland did respond. In its response (PDF) a very interesting observation is made about introducing a right to buy, in the context of property managers who retain areas of land for strategic reasons (i.e. enforcement rights). The Society notes:

You may wish to consider the possibly of a “right to buy” the land owned by the land owing [sic] maintenance company for example in the same way as there is a community right to buy a community asset. This would need to be thought through properly and suitable protections given against for example the land falling into the wrong hands and the land being for the benefit of the relevant community in the longer term. This might be done by special vehicle or by passing the land in common to all the owners (although that would have its difficulties in Scots Property Law in that a conveyance to each property would be required)

An interesting remark, in a land reform context. People might be sceptical of rights of acquisition in some contexts, and clearly there are ECHR/deprivation issues, but I cannot imagine a Salvesen v Riddell style challenge to the effectiveness of any legislation (that may or may not happen) being successful in the context of depriving a property manager holding “neighbours” to ransom by ownership of a strategic ransom strip. For present purposes, all I would note is that a simplistic “right to buy = good” or “right to buy = bad” analysis will never capture the nuances of any individual right to buy. That, I suppose, is why ad hoc arguments about land reform happen all the time. I also think it is fair to say no-one (including me) will be describing the Law Society as some kind of land-grab advocating zealots.

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About basedrones

Bachelor of Laws. Scots lawyer working at the University of Aberdeen. English law qualified. Took far too long to write this bio. Blogs on legal issues, with occasional veering into other purportedly intellectual stuff from time to time. Tweets about legal issues, education, law clinics, fitba, music, rogue cell division and not at all about politics at @MalcolmCombe.
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