What is Crofting?
Crofting is a system of landholding which is unique to Scotland.
A croft is not, as many people think, a house but instead a relatively small agricultural land holding which is normally held in tenancy and which may or may not have buildings or a house associated with it. Crofts range in size from less than 1/2 hectare (ha) to more than 50ha but an average croft is nearer 5ha.
There are 19,422 crofts occupied by an estimated 10,000-12,000 crofting households with a total population of around 33,000. A crofter is the tenant or owner-occupier of a croft. Usually, the crofter holds the croft on the "statutory conditions", which apply to every croft tenancy, and will not have a written lease. Some croft land is now owned because the former tenants have bought that land. There is no control over changes in ownership of croft land, although there is a statutory obligation to advise the Commission, but every change in the tenancy of a croft is regulated by the Commission.
Assignation is a term used in crofting to describe the permanent transfer of a tenancy from one person to another. In a normal year 200 to 300 croft tenancies are assigned. In over half of these the current crofter passes the croft to a member of their family and the majority of the remaining tenancies are transferred to people already known to the crofter. Given the demand we know exists for crofts, we understand the frustration which the lack of available land can produce.
Having said that a number of crofts do come onto the open market each year. Prospective crofters can look for tenancies in local newspapers or may contact crofting solicitors or estate agents to register their interest. Some have found a croft by placing a 'wanted' advertisement in the relevant local newspaper.
The Scottish Crofting Federation (SCF) is compiling a list of those interested in acquiring a croft and will provide information on how to find a croft and vacant crofts available. If you wish to be in this initiative please contact email@example.com T:01599 530005.
This is only the beginning of the process. Obtaining a croft tenancy is at least as difficult as buying a particular house in a sellers’ market. There are also certain legal requirements. The Commission does not own crofts and cannot act as an agent for anyone seeking a croft.