Tenants in control as leases of 175 years become ownership

Legislation to modernise the property law system and bring an end to long leases has been published.

The Long Leases (Scotland) Bill will convert leases of more than 175 years, and with more than 100 years to run, into ownership.

The Bill forms part of a programme of property law reform put forward by the Scottish Law Commission.

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The Scottish Government estimates there are around 9,000 “ultra-long” leases in Scotland. Two-thirds of the leases have annual rents of £5 or less.

Long leases tended to be granted by large estates, between 1770 to 1860, to encourage the industrialisation of Scotland.

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.

“This legislation will convert virtual ownership into actual ownership.”