Protecting your land on Scotland's land register
Scotland is moving to a single system of land and property registration, with work underway to complete the Land Register of Scotland. Landowners can protect their property by moving to the digital, map-based land register.
If you own land or property in Scotland, your ownership is recorded on one of two public registers – the 400-year-old General Register of Sasines, or the modern Land Register of Scotland. While the older register relies on verbal descriptions, the land register records precise boundaries on an online digital map.
The land register is replacing the sasine register. Once complete, it will provide a full picture of exactly who owns what, and reduce the cost of buying and selling property.
Scottish ministers have asked Registers of Scotland, the non-ministerial government department responsible for land and property registration, to complete the land register by 2024.
Registers of Scotland is encouraging owners to voluntarily move their property to the land register, and is offering a 25 per cent discount on its fees for voluntary registration. It has also set up a team of expert advisors to guide owners through the voluntary registration process.
Moving to the land register makes future property transactions easier, faster and cheaper. It clarifies exact boundaries, allowing owners to iron out any uncertainties between neighbouring properties. It simplifies estate management and succession planning, and provides greater certainty and security. And titles on the land register include a state-backed warranty, protecting against claims of adverse possession.
In addition to voluntary registration, property titles are being moved to the land register when properties are sold, and when owners remortgage or take on additional borrowing with a new lender. The Keeper of the Registers of Scotland is also using new powers introduced as part of the Land Registration etc (Scotland) Act 2012 to register properties without an application from the owner. This 'keeper-induced registration' will initially only be used in urban, residential areas like housing estates, where Registers of Scotland already has a lot of information about property titles.
For larger landholdings, including farms, we believe that voluntary registration is the best option as it allows owners to use their expert knowledge of their own property to register exactly what they own.
The drive to complete the land register will bring greater transparency, clarity and security of ownership, benefitting both landowners and Scotland as a whole.
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