A Skye crofter has criticised the Crofting Commission for an administrative glitch which has branded him an “absentee” landlord — even though he lives and works on his holding.
In 2008 Terry Swainbank bought the croft at half of four Ard Dorch. With the previous owner classed as a “landlord of a vacant croft,” Mr Swainbank then applied to change the status to that of “owner-occupier”.
In theory a landlord of a vacant croft could be required to find a tenant — something which the Crofting Commission can enforce.
At the time Mr Swainbank received a letter from the commission acknowledging the application, and was told the records would be updated.
However, he has recently been told that the status was never changed — a hitch which he fears could have implications for others. The Commission is currently carrying out a census of all croft holdings in Scotland.
Mr Swainbank said: “Unfortunately administrative oversight meant that they did not update their records and they are now refusing to act on their own previous decision which is quite extraordinary — the letter of confirmation is apparently not worth the paper it is printed on. So we remain landlords of a vacant croft and all the uncertainty that creates.
“We have consulted lawyers and fear that we may have to go to the Scottish Land Court.”