OPTS Press Release

Press release announcing the launch of the Ownerless Property Transfer Scheme

Press release from the King’s and Lord Treasurer’s Remembrancer

The King’s and Lord Treasurer’s Remembrancer launches a bold new approach to ownerless property in Scotland  

A new scheme from the King’s and Lord Treasurer’s Remembrancer (KLTR) will empower communities across Scotland to take over ownerless land and buildings, providing community assets where they are most needed.

The KLTR, the Crown’s representative in Scotland for ownerless property, today launches the Ownerless Property Transfer Scheme (OPTS) as part of his innovative plans to encourage public authorities and community bodies to work together to transform neglected property into much-needed facilities for local community benefit. This could include, for example, transforming blighted and eyesore properties into amenity areas or vital facilities for local people.

Properties that might otherwise fall to the Crown will be sold for a price that covers the KLTR’s external costs, which is likely to be a fraction of market value. Interested groups will be supported by a range of partners brought together by the KLTR.

The OPTS launch comes after a public consultation process received a positive response from stakeholders and other interested parties across Scotland, with councils and members of the public keen to explore the scheme’s possibilities for transforming ownerless properties.

The scheme has been designed to foster collaboration between members of the community, local authorities and other parties with an interest in providing lasting benefits.

John Logue, the Crown Agent and King’s and Lord Treasurer’s Remembrancer, warmly welcomed the launch of the scheme following the positive reaction to the consultation document.

He said: “I am pleased to launch the Ownerless Property Transfer Scheme, which fundamentally changes the way in which we all deal with ownerless property.  The scheme will create opportunities for communities across Scotland to benefit from properties abandoned by their previous owners and I would encourage all interested parties to work together to ensure these opportunities benefit both present and future generations.

We have taken time to ensure that this public interest scheme is fair and transparent, and my officials look forward to working with key partners across the public and community sectors to address the barriers to bringing ownerless properties back into productive use.”

Enterprise agencies and membership organisations supporting communities are welcoming the new scheme.

Douglas Cowan, CEO of Highlands and Island Enterprises, said “OPTS will provide a new route to unlocking ownerless assets. We welcome its ability to transfer land and buildings for nominal value and look forward to working with KLTR to share these opportunities with communities in our region.”

Similarly, Linda Gillespie from the Community Ownership Support Service (COSS), stated “COSS welcomes this new programme from KLTR which gives communities a new route to securing ownership of land and assets. We look forward to working closely with KLTR and community groups in securing these assets for community benefit.”

South of Scotland Enterprise (SOSE) has agreed to help liaise between the property coming through the transfer scheme and community representatives and other stakeholders in the region.

SOSE Chief Executive Jane Morrison-Ross said: “The Ownerless Property Transfer Scheme opens up a new route to ownership for community enterprises. SOSE welcomes this development and the opportunities it brings for further community empowerment and community-led enterprise in the South of Scotland. We look forward to working positively with KLTR to maximise the potential benefits of this new scheme for our communities across the South.”

Those interested in the OPTS scheme can find out more at www.kltr.gov.uk.



Notes to Editors 

OPTS Guidance is available on the KLTR’s website, together with a summary document to help prospective applicants to initially consider whether OPTS may be an option for them.

OPTS is designed as a public interest scheme, which encourages public bodies, local authorities and communities to work collaboratively to identify the best use for OPTS property which will provide the most benefit to the community.   

The KLTR has created an OPTS Advisory Panel to assist with the decision-making process, which consists of nominated members from the three key sectors involved in OPTS.  Members include representatives from Crown Estate Scotland, Confederation of Scottish Local Authorities (COSLA), Glasgow City Council, Highlands & Islands Enterprise and the Scottish Land Commission.  The purpose of the panel is to provide advice to the KLTR on OPTS criteria on a case-by-case basis and to ensure key sectors continue to play a vital role in delivering OPTS.

A comprehensive FAQ is also available at www.kltr.gov.uk to assist interested parties in understanding the key aspects of the Ownerless Property Transfer Scheme.