Land and buildings transaction tax is a tax on property transactions in Scotland and applies to purchases of residential and commercial properties and leases of commercial premises. One of the components of the regime is the requirement for three yearly reviews of the tax chargeable. The government's approach is for leases to be reviewed for tax purposes on a regular basis over their lifetime so that the tax payable more accurately reflects the amount of rent actually paid over the entire lease period.
One of the strategic objectives of the new Scottish Land Commission is to ensure that the ownership and use of land delivers greater public benefit. It has commissioned a series of independent discussion papers on key land reform issues and has now published the first of these. The paper considers how the operation of the land market could be improved, and how the supply of land for new housing could be increased, through public sector intervention.
All new residential property leases in Scotland are now subject to a new letting regime, under which it is no longer possible to enter into a new assured tenancy or new short assured tenancy. Instead, all new residential lets (unless exempt) will be private residential tenancies (PRTs). A number of aspects of the PRT and the model tenancy agreement may need to be modified in view of the different characteristics of residential properties in rural areas.
The most recent incarnations of the Scottish Parliament's land reform and community engagement policies have continued the land reform agenda regarding land ownership and furthered the empowerment of communities. The Land Reform (Scotland) Act 2016 and the Community Empowerment (Scotland) Act 2015 include proposals for regulations to create a Register of Controlling Interests in Land and extend the community right to buy in order to include a right to purchase abandoned, neglected or detrimental land.
In a bid to promote and facilitate good practice between landowners and farm tenants, Scotland's tenant farming commissioner is producing a series of codes of practice under the Land Reform (Scotland) Act 2016. The latest of these concerns sporting rights and, among other things, encourages sporting rights holders to communicate with agricultural tenants, in particular regarding access across agricultural land and when planning a shoot.