Land Registration etc. (Scotland) Bill
The Land Registration etc. (Scotland) Bill, which has been introduced in the Scottish Parliament, seeks to underpin and improve the land registration system in Scotland. The Bill provides mechanisms to modernise the process of registering land and property rights, making it clearer, more certain, and more efficient.
Commenting on the benefits of the Land Registration etc. (Scotland) Bill, Sheenagh Adams, Keeper of the Registers of Scotland, said:
“Scotland was the first country in which the State took responsibility for recording land ownership and property rights. This Bill builds on that and will ensure that Scotland has an enhanced land registration system that will continue to support our economy and protect the rights of property owners.
“One of the key aims of the Bill is to bring about the completion of the Land Register. Presently, some 55% of property titles are in the Land Register, covering 21% of the land mass, so Scotland is like an incomplete jigsaw. There is a small percentage increase in land register coverage each year, so completing the jigsaw could take centuries. That is because most properties only switch on to the Land Register on sale, and some properties can go unsold for generations. Without this legislation, Scotland’s Land Register may never be completed. A completed Register would provide real benefits both for the Scottish economy and property buyers.”
Commenting on the laying of the Bill, George Gretton, Lord President Reid Professor of Law at the University of Edinburgh, whose work at the Scottish Law Commission led to the Bill, said:
"An effective system of registering title to land and buildings is essential to the functioning of a modern economy, and also to the interests of individual owners. This is true of all types of property, including the residential, commercial and agricultural sectors. Land registration law thus affects every single square inch of Scotland. The new legislation aims to bring about a comprehensive modernisation of the law. Among the many changes are provisions enabling all conveyancing documents to be in electronic form."
Law Society of Scotland spokesperson Ross MacKay, convener of the Law Society of Scotland Property Law Committee, said: "We are very supportive of the Land Registration Bill and hope that it will progress swiftly through the parliamentary process. The Society responded to the government's consultation prior to the bill's introduction, and highlighted that we would particularly welcome the introduction of advance notices which we believe would greatly assist the conveyancing process in Scotland for all involved."
Kate Marshall, Senior Solicitor at Lloyds Banking Group, commenting on the impact of the Bill on the financial sector, added: " We welcome the Bill and in particular the protection that the system of advance notices will afford."
The current system of land registration in Scotland was introduced by the Land Registration (Scotland) Act 1979. In 2002, the Scottish Law Commission (SLC) was asked to undertake a review. Its final report, including a draft Bill, was published in February 2010. At the request of Scottish Ministers, Registers of Scotland conducted a public consultation on the proposals in Autumn 2010.
Key measures in the Bill include:
- putting the system of land registration in Scotland on a sound statutory footing, providing legislative support for those practices that have evolved since 1979 and closing gaps in the current Act;
- providing for the eventual completion of the Land Register by increasing the triggers for first registration and making provision for voluntary registrations and Keeper-induced registrations;
- re-aligning registration law with property law by, for example, adjusting the circumstances in which, when there is a competition in title, a person can recover their property rather than only get compensation from the Keeper of the Registers of Scotland;
- introducing a system of “advance notices” for conveyancing transactions that will remove the risk of losing title to a property between the settlement date and the registration date (which risk is currently underwritten by insurance); and
- introducing amendments to the Requirements of Writing (Scotland) Act 1995 to allow for electronic conveyancing and electronic registration.
Note to editors
1. Registers of Scotland (RoS) is the non Ministerial Government Department responsible for compiling and maintaining registers relating to property and other legal documents in Scotland and providing public access to them.
2. The progress of the Land Registration etc. (Scotland) Bill can be followed on the Scottish Parliament’s website.
3. RoS provides the official property statistics for Scotland. For more information go to: www.ros.gov.uk.
Contact:Isla MacLeod, Communications, Registers of Scotland
Meadowbank House, 153 London Road, Edinburgh, EH8 7AU
Tel: 0131 200 3975 or 07824 626450 email: email@example.com