ARTICLE
18 April 2024

Land Registration: Where Are We Sitting With The Target Deadline?

Sa
Shepherd and Wedderburn LLP

Contributor

Shepherd and Wedderburn is a leading, independent Scottish-headquartered UK law firm, with offices in Edinburgh, Glasgow, Aberdeen, London and Dublin. With a history stretching back to 1768, establishing long-standing relationships of trust, rooted in legal advice and client service of the highest quality, is our hallmark.
Registers of Scotland is working to replace the first and oldest property register, the General Register of Sasines, with the modern Land Register of Scotland: a digital, map-based register.
UK Real Estate and Construction
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Registers of Scotland is working to replace the first and oldest property register, the General Register of Sasines, with the modern Land Register of Scotland: a digital, map-based register.

Madeleine Gill and Melanie McLachlan explain how you can beat the deadline and benefit from a substantial discount through Voluntary Registration.

With a quarter of the year already behind us we thought it was worth checking on the progress towards the Scottish Government's target of having the entirety of Scotland on a new digital Land Register by December 2024.

As of February, 53.4% of Scotland's landmass has been registered – and a further 6.4% is represented by ongoing cases with Registers of Scotland ("RoS").

While this target was ambitious, and the project will undoubtedly continue past this deadline, time is running out to benefit from the current Voluntary Registration 25% fee discount.

The Sasine-Land Register Migration

RoS is working to replace the first and oldest property register, the General Register of Sasines, with the modern Land Register of Scotland: a digital, map-based register.

The registration of a property is triggered in three circumstances:

  • A transaction over the land, such as a sale or transfer of title;
  • Keeper-Induced Registration, where the Keeper will register the land without input from the landowner. This is more commonly used in urban, residential areas where large numbers of surrounding properties are registered, or;
  • Voluntary Registration ("VR"), where the land or property owner registers the property themselves.

RoS has been placing focus on VR and encouraging those with unregistered titles to kickstart the process themselves.

Voluntary Registration for Rural Landowners

With a vast proportion of Scotland's landscape being rural, RoS is urging rural landowners to submit VR applications.

Large estates and farmland often remain within family or partnership ownership for generations, resulting in a large percentage of unregistered land within rural communities.

Why Voluntarily Register?

There are several benefits to VR.

Engaging in the process voluntarily provides you with greater control over your land boundaries. Sasine titles can be highly complex; it is common to find that historical deed plans contain inaccuracies which can lead to over or under laps of boundaries between neighbours.

With registration requiring a new Ordnance Survey plan of the registered land to be exhibited with the application, it can provide certainty in respect of the extent of your land, with the Keeper providing a state-backed warranty to this effect at the date of registration.

Voluntary Registration can also serve to simplify the old paper deeds used by the Sasine Register.

Before the introduction of the Land Register, each change of ownership or security over land would be documented by a new paper deed, leading to a mass of historical paperwork that can be time-consuming to review and easily misplaced by landowners.

The older Sasine deeds can also be difficult to interpret, and in some cases do not contain any plans at all. Land Registered titles are electronic and more streamlined, with all securities, burdens, servitudes and other relevant deeds showing on one new, digital Title Sheet.

This makes future transactions over the land more straightforward for the current proprietor or for future generations.

Act now, pay less

RoS continues to offer a 25% discount on registration fees if you register property voluntarily.

Current VR rates are based on the value of the land being registered, so the discount is not insignificant, especially where large landholdings are concerned.

It has not been confirmed whether this discount will continue beyond the December 2024 deadline, so if you wish to benefit you should start the process before it expires.

The content of this article is intended to provide a general guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought about your specific circumstances.

ARTICLE
18 April 2024

Land Registration: Where Are We Sitting With The Target Deadline?

UK Real Estate and Construction

Contributor

Shepherd and Wedderburn is a leading, independent Scottish-headquartered UK law firm, with offices in Edinburgh, Glasgow, Aberdeen, London and Dublin. With a history stretching back to 1768, establishing long-standing relationships of trust, rooted in legal advice and client service of the highest quality, is our hallmark.
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