There are two property registers in Scotland. The Sasine Register was established in 1617 and is a record of individual deeds. Its cooler, younger sibling known as the Land Register was introduced in 1979 and is an OS map based register of land ownership, designed to provide clear particulars of the property backed by a state guarantee.
A title used to make its way from the Sasine Register to the Land Register following a sale. Current Scottish Government policy is to accelerate the transfer of land to the Land Register, so that all land in Scotland is registered in the Land Register by 2024. To meet this ambitious target, the triggers for moving a title on to the Land Register have increased.
In addition, a landowner with a Sasine Register title can now apply to have their title moved on to the Land Register at any time by “Voluntary Registration”.
A Sasine title can also be moved on to the Land Register without any involvement of the landowner (known as “Keeper Induced Registration”) but it’s likely that this mechanism will only be used for urban and residential properties at this stage.
Many owners of farms, estates and other rural land whose titles are still on the Sasine Register will be faced with a transaction which involves compulsory registration at some point before 2024.
It’s therefore a good idea to consider making an application for Voluntary Registration now, so that you can register your title at a time and pace which suits you, and so that you can input your knowledge of your property into the process. This should avoid having to deal with registration when under pressure from a transaction, and result in a registered title which is more accurate and easier to deal with, benefitting both property management and future transactions.
Building on their extensive experience of dealing with complex rural titles, Turcan Connell has set up a Land Registration Unit to deal with Voluntary Registration applications. We can advise on whether Voluntary Registration is appropriate for your property and the process, timing and likely cost involved.