At the moment less than 30% of land in Scotland is registered in the Land Register of Scotland which is a digital map- based Register. The remainder of land is still recorded in the General Register of Sasines which is a Register of historic deeds.
The Scottish Government has asked the Keeper of the Registers of Scotland to complete the Land Register by 2024, meaning that all Scottish land should be registered by then. This is indeed a tall order and one way the Registers of Scotland hope to achieve this goal is by encouraging private and public landowners to voluntarily register their land.
Voluntary Registration permits an owner of an unregistered plot of land to apply for registration of that plot in the Land Register at any time. No new deed is needed although a new Land Register Plan may be required.
However not only will voluntary registration help the Land Register to achieve its aims by 2024 but there are added advantages for landowners in registering their plots of land.
- The Land Register requires an exact plan which does not overlap with any other registered titles thus clarifying the definitive boundaries of a piece of land providing certainty to owners.
- Also once a title is registered any questions from neighbours and others about boundaries can be dealt with speedily and cheaply as it avoids laborious title examination or arguments over ownership where the titles are unclear, as often they are. This can be extremely pertinent for rural estates and farms or where a landowner wishes to sell land to a developer.
Currently the Registers of Scotland are offering a 25% discount on the cost of the Voluntary Registration application fees to landowners who undertake the process. The fees are calculated depending on the value of the land or property involved and range from £45 to £5625.A plans assistance service has also been set up by the Registers to help with the preparation of plans which are suitable for registration.