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JGM, Solicitor
Category: Scots Law
Satisfied Customers: 12180
Experience:  30 years as a practising solicitor.
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Location = West Highland where crofting law applies:Problem:

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Location = West Highland where crofting law applies:

Problem: Original croft house ruin on croft and new house built. Charity set up to assist people in need and someone introduced to us wished to donate £20,000 towards the work of the charity. The money was used along with own funds to rebuild the old croft house. The purpose of the house was to provide accommodation for people the charity was set up to help....battered wives, people drying out, people needing time out from life in general, and ministry of a faith based nature. The lady who donated the money was keen to use the bottom of the house as an art gallery in order to raise funds for the charity. The house is not part of the not owned by the charity. Owned by the registered croft tenant. The husband of the named croft tenant made a verbal arrangement with the lady, stating that she could have life long free tenancy of the house on the basis that she was there, doing the art gallery thing and raising funds for the charity. She was also to provide rooms for people up above the gallery.The lady has never actually moved in to the house, but visits it regularly from her home in the east coast, and she allows her friends and family to use it as a holiday home. The art gallery never happened, and not a penny has come the way of the charity. The husband of the legal tenant made the arrangement "as the man of the home" and did not get his wife's agreement to do so. They were an old fashioned couple, so she left a lot of the responsibility to him. Now 12 - 14 years on, husband unwell and wife full time carer. Charity dissolved instigated by me (their daughter) as they were too unwell to help others, and no funds coming in anyway. The lady has been paying the utility bills and the council tax for the cottage, and these things will be in her name. There is no written agreement or tenancy stuff, as it was really done as my Dad feeling like she should have some use of the house after donating such a large sum of money to the charity.
Mum and Dad are now considering moving closer to hospital facilities and as such would have to pass the croft on to me. Does this woman have a legal right to stay in the cottage forever? I don't want to throw her out, but would like to know where she stands legally as she has done a few things recently which would imply that she does not care that she is not the legal had plans drawn up for renovations without asking mum. Mum has told her to send all the bills to us now that the charity has dissolved as of last week, and she has said to her that the upkeep of the house she has paid for to date was instead of the funds she was meant to have provided to the charity with her gallery. There will never be a gallery now, as she has responsibilities on the east coast and is away a lot.
Can you help?
Thank you for your question.

Just to clarify.

Does the croft have both your parents' house and the cottage on it?
Customer: replied 3 years ago.

yes it does. croft incorporates the old ruin now renovated and new ish croft house 3o years old. 15 acres approx, in total bought in my mothers name as owner occupier.

And your parents are owner- occupiers of the croft within the meaning of the 1993 Act?Did they get the consent of the Crofting Commission to let the cottage?If not, irrespective of whether there is a written lease there is no legal tenancy and the woman has no right of tenure in my opinion.
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Customer: replied 3 years ago.

croft purchased in the 90's, after being just tenants since 1980. The renovated cottage was de-crofted prior to renovation, so no permissions needed from the CC. Also...never any written tenancy or letting agreement. lady was a member of the trust/charity, and as such was meant to be making a contribution in some way to the work of the trust.

Thanks. So we don't have to be bothered with crofting law.

As there is nothing in writing and there is no rent being paid, this lady is a non tenancy occupier.

You can give her reasonable notice to vacate. If she doesn't do so you can go to court for an order to evict her. However, as the cottage is not her main residence and could be argued as being a holiday type situation I would argue that you could change the locks and take back the property without going to court for an order.