Voluntary Registration of Title of your Property to assist in Completing Scotland’s Land Register
A major shift in the way land and property ownership is registered is underway, with a drive by the Scottish Government to complete the Land Register of Scotland. The change presents an opportunity for landowners to clarify and protect their ownership.
If you own land or property in Scotland, your ownership is currently recorded in either the General Register of Sasines or the Land Register of Scotland. Wishing to see all land on a single, comprehensive, digital register, Scottish Ministers have asked Registers of Scotland to complete the transfer of all land into the Land Register by 2024, having registered all public land by 2019.
The older Sasine Register began in 1617, and is based on the verbal descriptions of property boundaries contained in deeds but sometimes referring to a plan. The Land Register, which started in 1981, defines precise boundaries on an online map.
The transfer of property titles from the Sasine Register to the modern Land Register has until recently been gradual, happening mainly when a property is sold. Many properties remain under the same ownership for decades or even centuries, so new ways have had to be found to add titles to the Land Register to accelerate its completion.
For example, from 1 April 2016, remortgaging a property with a new lender leads to an automatic transfer to the land register, which is expected to add several thousand titles a year.
Additionally, Registers of Scotland is encouraging owners of larger landholdings in both the private and the public sectors to voluntarily move their property to the Land Register. Landowners are the experts on their own land, and are best placed to ensure that their ownership is recorded accurately – especially where deeds are complex or old.
Voluntary registration has benefits for landowners, including assisting with future property transactions. Titles on the Land Register include a state-backed warranty, giving greater security of ownership. Voluntary registration gives you the opportunity to clarify boundaries, addressing any uncertainties between neighbouring properties.
To help landowners register their land, Registers of Scotland has reduced its voluntary registration fees by 25 per cent until at least mid-2019.
Our Property solicitors at Hill & Robb will be happy to assist you if you are interested in voluntary registering your title, by talking you through the requirements and arranging, if required a new plan of the property to meet the registration criteria.
The complete Land Register will allow anyone to look up who owns any piece of land across Scotland, with the new levels of transparency and efficiency benefiting owners of property and Scotland as a whole.
For more information on voluntary registration please contact one of our Property Team who will be delighted to assist.