In 2014, the Scottish Ministers asked Registers of Scotland to move all titles from the Sasine Register and complete the Land Register by 2024. The Land Register is a register which was introduced in 1981 and is a register of who owns land and property in Scotland based on the Ordnance Survey map and includes plans of properties.
When a property is sold it automatically moves to the Land Register and for many years we have been assisting sellers, via their legal representatives, to complete this process. Our assistance normally comes in either where the existing title was not suitable for registration in the Land Register, usually because the property in question could not be plotted accurately onto the Ordnance Survey map to allow a Land Register plan to be produced, or if the property owner was selling off only part of their existing property and a new plan was therefore required to accurately identify the area to be sold.
Properties are now also being moved to the Land Register in 3 additional ways:-
- Voluntary Registration – this allows property owners to voluntarily register their property in the Land Register at any time. Registers of Scotland are currently offering a 25% discount on their fees. It should be borne in mind that fees will also likely be required in respect of legal advice and, if the current title is not suitable to go straight to the Land Register, producing a new plan compliant with the requirements of Registers of Scotland. We would always advise that clients take legal advice in the first instance, however, we are more than happy to assist clients and their legal advisers with any mapping requirements or with any searches for missing title deeds.
- Keeper Induced Registration (KIR) – this allows Registers of Scotland to move titles from the Sasine Register to the Land Register. Initially KIR is being used to register properties in areas where Registers of Scotland have large amounts of data on common rights or burdens and in time will likely cover large numbers of properties. We can advise on whether a Land Certificate was created by KIR, which allows legal advisers to decide on the appropriate level of title examination as the first time this is flagged as having happened may be the first time the owners transact with the property. We are also happy to assist with any queries which may arise in respect of the Land Register plans created as a result of KIR.
- Closure of the Sasine Register to Standard Securities – means that the granting of a new security induces registration of the title in the Land Register. This means that the existing Sasine Title needs to be checked to ensure it is suitable to be registered in the Land Register without a new plan being prepared, this process is very similar to the sale process. Again, we have helped numerous clients to get their security, and therefore, title onto the Land Register normally being instructed via their legal representatives.
A completed Land Register will be a national asset for Scotland and should make buying and selling property easier, faster and cheaper, however, there are many challenges regarding getting properties onto the Land Register. We have invested in state of the art GPS survey equipment to allow us prepare accurate Registers of Scotland compliant plans. From these surveys we can determine whether some of the problems which arise as a result of comparing old titles with the Ordnance Survey map are due to boundaries having been moved or the Ordnance Survey map showing features incorrectly. The GPS survey equipment also allows us to keep records of the co-ordinates of newly marked out plots, this reduces the risks involved in boundaries being erected in the wrong place as the survey used to produce the deed plan to transfer land is often prepared long before physical boundaries are erected.