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Long leases bill passes final hurdle in Scotland

The Bill formed part of a programme of property law reform put forward by the Scottish Law Commission. This included the ending of feudal tenure in 2004 through the Abolition of Feudal Tenure etc (Scotland) Act 2000.
The Bill:

– Converts ultra-long leases to ownership
– Protects landlords’ rights by providing for compensatory and additional payments.
– Moves away from an unnecessarily complex form of land tenure
Environment Minister Stewart Stevenson said:
"This Bill will simplify Scotland’s land tenure system. Ultra-long leases are so long that the tenant is, in effect, the owner in all but name. Clarifying the law makes life easier for tenants in ultra-long leases and for lenders and solicitors engaged in transactions relating to the properties. This legislation will simplify property law and convert virtual ownership into actual ownership.
“Our work here is not complete. We need to ensure that information on the provisions of the Bill reaches landlords, tenants and their legal representatives. As ultra-long leases tend to incur in particular parts of the country – such as Alva, Ardrossan, Blairgowrie, Saltcoats, Stevenston and Wishaw –  we will target our information at particular areas. Information will be provided on the Scottish Government and Registers of Scotland websites.”
Dr Andrew Steven, Commissioner with the Scottish Law Commission, said:
“The Scottish Law Commission is delighted that a Bill based on our Report on Conversion of Long Leases has been passed by the Scottish Parliament. We were pleased to work with the Scottish Government on implementing this piece of law reform. It is another significant step forward for Scottish land law.”
An eligible ultra-long lease is one that was let for more than 175 years and, at the Appointed Day, has more than 175 years left to run (non-residential leases) or has more than 100 years left to run (residential leases). The Bill will have full effect on the Appointed Day. The current intention is that the Appointed Day will be Martinmas (28 November) 2015.
The Scottish Government estimates that there are around 9,000 ultra-long leases in Scotland.

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