Land Registration

Property in Scotland is in the midst of a seismic shift. Land registration was first brought into Scotland in 1979, yet by 2014 only about 24% of Scotland's land mass was registered.

Harper Macleod have a large specialist Land Registration team who can help you comply with the new registration requirement.

Deadline for registration

In May 2014, the Scottish Government announced its commitment to have all public land registered in the Land Register within 5 years, and all private land within 10 years. This affects all land and buildings in Scotland, regardless of whether they are residential, commercial, rural or urban.

These targets are ambitious, but are combined with a statutory overhaul of property and land registration in Scotland. The new Land Registration etc (Scotland) Act 2012, which came fully into force in December 2014, is geared towards speeding up registration. More transactions involving land now trigger compulsory registration than ever before. For example landlords granting leases for more than 20 years (whether for a retail development, windfarm, agricultural estate or any other type of property) now have to register their land as well as the lease. Further types of property dealing will be caught within its ambit in phases over the next few years, since the old Sasine Register will be shut to different deed types e.g. standard securities (mortgages) entered into from April 2016 will need the property to be land registered. In addition, the Registers of Scotland now have statutory powers to force registration of any land, even without the owner's consent.

Careful and expert advice on this vastly changing area of land registration can save time, frustration and money in the long run.

The next few years will change the face of Scotland and Harper Macleod can provide market leading solutions to help make the most of that.

Race to the Register

This unprecedented push towards registering all of Scotland's property by 2024 means that as more owners define their land and rights, those who do not – or who don't register correctly – can be caught out.

Some see this as a "Race to the Register", since the last owner in an area to register their land will effectively have their boundaries defined by reference to their neighbours' registered titles rather than being in control of what is registered in their own name. Even existing registered titles are not immune: as neighbours try to register their land now, they may spot inaccuracies in existing registrations and seek to challenge those. There are therefore traps for the unwary.

Opportunities

Importantly, this new regime also provides an unprecedented chance for landowners to take control over their property and to register it quicker than ever before. Much more emphasis is given to the owner's own understanding of their land and what they actually possess. Unwritten access rights and similar rights can be registered for the first time. Old, complex titles can be transferred into more user-friendly, State backed registered titles which will be easier and cheaper to deal with in the future.

Careful and expert advice on this vastly changing area can save time, frustration and money in the long run. The next few years will change the face of Scotland and Harper Macleod can provide market leading solutions to help make the most of that.

Contact our Land Registration team

Our services

Checking your existing registered title

  • Advice on title conditions, access rights etc
  • Review of registered title and rights

Dealing with errors and potential disputes

  • Competing titles and boundaries
  • Rectification of the Land Register

Registering your property for the first time

  • Automatic plot registration for leases, assignations etc
  • Community registrations
  • Documenting unwritten rights
  • Keeper induced (compulsory) registration
  • Voluntary first registration

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