Government policy is to complete the Land Register (a map-based register of land ownership) within ten years, replacing the old Sasine Register (a record of individual title deeds). Since the Land Registration etc (Scotland) Act 2012 came into force in December 2014, more transactions now trigger registration in the Land Register (LR) and Registers of Scotland (RoS) has a new power (Keeper-induced Registration (KIR), to register land without involving its owner.
So, is applying now for Voluntary Registration (VR) of your land in the LR worthwhile?
Potential benefits of VR include:
- Sasine title deeds can overlap – registering your land in the LR first can strengthen your title to any overlap.
- LR titles benefit from a warranty from RoS – if they are successfully challenged by someone else, compensation may be claimed.
- An LR title is usually more straightforward than Sasine title deeds, potentially reducing transaction costs.
- Transactions triggering registration in the LR of parts of your land may result in the overall title being piecemeal – VR might avoid this.
- Analysing title deeds and preparing a plan of your land for the VR application might even identify land you did not realise you owned.
- It is not currently known whether KIR of land will result in an accurate title to the land benefiting from RoS' warranty.
Potential risks and costs of VR include:
- Jumping the gun – a great deal is still unknown about KIR and the completion of the LR.
- It may be difficult or even impossible to apply for VR of parts of your land if the title deeds do not contain a clear plan or boundary description.
- The costs of applying for VR, including professional fees and registration dues, may amount to a significant sum.
Whether the potential benefits will outweigh the potential risks and costs of VR will depend greatly on your plans for the land, its title deeds and further information becoming available about KIR.