Agricultural holdings in Scotland—snapshot
Produced in partnership with Mike Blair of Gillespie MacAndrew
Agricultural holdings in Scotland—snapshot

The following Property guidance note Produced in partnership with Mike Blair of Gillespie MacAndrew provides comprehensive and up to date legal information covering:

  • Agricultural holdings in Scotland—snapshot
  • Types of Agricultural Leases
  • AH(S)A 1991 and Agricultural Holdings (Scotland) Act 2003 definition of ‘agriculture’
  • AH(S)A 1991 definition of ‘agricultural holding’
  • AH(S)A 1991 definition of ‘agricultural land’
  • AH(S)A 1991 definition of ‘fixed equipment’
  • AH(S)A 1991 definition of ‘livestock’
  • Agricultural Holdings (Scotland) Act 2003 definition of ‘agricultural land’
  • 1991 Act Tenancies
  • The ‘limited partnership’ 1991 Act tenancy
  • more

Leasing of farmland is heavily controlled by the law. In Scotland, normal commercial leases are only affected to a moderate extent by statute, but in the case of leases of agricultural property, the reverse is true.

Types of Agricultural Leases

There are four kinds of agricultural leases:

  1. 1991 Act Tenancies sometimes called ‘traditional’ or ‘secure’ tenancies regulated under the Agricultural Holdings (Scotland) Act 1991 (AH(S)A 1991)

  2. 2003 Act Tenancies of which there are several types (regulated by the Agricultural Holdings (Scotland) Act 2003)

  3. grazing tenancies, and

  4. unusual tenancies principally liferent leases and indefinite tenancies which are not dealt with in this Practice Note

Crofting tenancies distinguished from agricultural leases

Although in legal form a lease, a croft tenancy held by the crofter represents the major interest in the croft land occupied. Landlords of crofts have very limited rights. Although in its 19th century origins, a croft was a small area of land farmed by the crofter, the numbers of crofters nowadays actively engaged in agriculture is much fewer than the number of crofts. The law relating to crofting is very different from that related to agricultural leases and is beyond the scope of this note. See: Crofts and small landholdings: Scottish Law of Leases [16.1].

There are a number of definitions that are key understanding the agricultural tenancies under AH(S)A 1991