Voluntary Registration – Jen Davidson, trainee solicitor, asks what’s in it for you?
Voluntary Registration – Jen Davidson, trainee solicitor, asks what’s in it for you?06 March 2019 Written by James & George Collie

The Land Register for Scotland is a digital map-based system of land registration established by the Land Registration (Scotland) Act 1979.

The Scottish Government have asked the Keeper of the Registers of Scotland to complete the Land Register by 2024 with all public land being registered by 2019.  The most recent data shows that around 30% of land in Scotland is currently registered. This means that a great deal of land in Scotland is still registered in the old deeds-based General Register of Sasines which is less user-friendly and arguably offers less transparency as to who owns what.

The Land Registration etc. (Scotland) Act 2012 came into force in 2014 with the aim of accelerating the process of land registration. From April 2016, the list of deeds that trigger compulsory registration in the Land Register was extended to include standard securities.

However, with a view to achieving the targets set out by the Government, the Keeper wishes to encourage voluntary registration (i.e. registration without a deed) by owners of land in Scotland, particularly in rural areas.

So, what are the benefits of voluntary registration?

-          By registering title to your property in the Land Register, you firmly establish and define what you own. You enjoy certainty as to the boundaries of your property and the rights and obligations affecting it. This also provides a secure legacy for the next generation.

-          Should someone challenge your title, you can quickly and easily identify what you own by exhibiting the title sheet. This is simple and accessible and saves lengthy title examination and avoids disputes that may arise where old deeds are unclear.

-          In larger rural properties, plots of land or estates, voluntary registration avoids piecemeal registration where, for example, a transaction takes place over only one part of the land triggering registration that results in only that part being registered.

-          Once you have registered your title, the process of any transfer or re-finance in the future is much simpler and smoother.

-          Voluntary registration allows you take control over the registering of your title with more emphasis being given to your own understanding of the land you own and what it is you actually possess. You also control the timing. The 2012 Act makes provision for the keeper to exercise Keeper-induced registration whereby land would be registered without any action on the part of the owner. This process remains fairly uncertain so voluntary registration avoids the risks that it may present.

-          And finally, Registers of Scotland will offer you a 25% discount on registration dues should you undertake the process.

Given the pressure from the Government, some landowners feel there is a “Race to the Register” and are keen to reap the benefits of voluntary registration. A degree of Solicitor involvement will always be required when undertaking voluntary registration and with more complex titles, such as rural property or farms, the cost to the land owner could escalate.

It is important that you measure the benefits against the potential costs and this is something your Solicitor will be happy to advise you on.

Should you wish to consider voluntary registration or require any other advice along these lines, please get in touch with your usual contact at James & George Collie.

get in touch

Please let us know your name.
Please enter a valid phone number
Please let us know your email address.
Invalid Input
Invalid Input
Please let us know your message.