Blog by Scott Bond, Private sector stakeholder engagement manager at Registers of Scotland.
Scott Bond, the private sector stakeholder engagement manager from the land register completion (LRC) programme discusses the recent events the team held across Scotland to promote voluntary registration to solicitors and landowners.
“In the weeks leading up to Christmas our voluntary registration advisors spoke to several hundred professionals and members of the farming community at a series of seminars on land register completion across Scotland.
This ‘tour’ was a great opportunity for us to discuss voluntary registration, inform people about how we can help, and get some feedback about the process.
This blog covers some of the topics raised by people attending the seminars”.
Plan assistance service
Our plan assistance service has proved very popular, and many of the professionals we spoke to are already using it. We created this service in response to feedback from landowners, to interpret title deeds and prepare plans that meet our registration criteria.
When we first launched the service there was a very high demand. We’re pleased to say that having recruited new staff and improved our technology, we’re now able to fulfil most plan assistance requests within two to three weeks – although very complex cases will take longer.
In a new development, customers will soon be able to submit requests for our plan assistance service online.
Some of the solicitors who came to our seminars wanted to know whether servitudes and encumbrances contained in historical deeds have to be mapped as a requirement for registration.
We’ve recently changed our policy on this, to simplify the registration process. It’s no longer a requirement to map historical encumbrances and servitudes. If the right or encumbrance can’t be mapped, we will verbalise this in the title sheet. However, if a new burden or servitude to an unregistered deed is shown on a plan, the plan must still meet our deed plan criteria.
The scale of mapping required for property plans came up at several seminars. The cadastral map is based on the Ordnance Survey map, so we ask applicants to submit plans that fit with the relevant Ordnance Survey scale. This is 1:1250 for urban areas, 1:2500 for rural areas, and 1:10,000 for mountain/moorland areas.
More on mapping
You can read more about mapping for voluntary registration on our frequently asked questions page.
Many of the events included a lot of discussion of keeper-induced registration (KIR). KIR is a new power introduced by the 2012 Act to facilitate the completion of the land register by allowing us to move titles from the Sasine register to the land register without an application from the owner. We started the initial phase of KIR in November 2016 in selected areas of Glasgow, Dumbarton, Midlothian and Angus.
At present, we’re only using KIR in urban, residential property areas where we already have extensive information about the content of titles. For larger landholdings, voluntary registration is the best option.
Unregistered slivers of land
Lots of people asked what RoS would do about small areas of land left over between the boundaries of registered titles as we move towards a complete land register. We may eventually use KIR to register plots no-one has claimed, using our own records to identify the owner. We would publicly consult before using KIR in this way.
However, if applicants come across a left-over piece of land between boundaries while preparing an application for voluntary registration, and they believe they have title to the land, they should apply to register it rather than leaving an ‘underlap’.
Our voluntary registration advisors are on hand to guide landowners and their representatives through the voluntary registration process. Or you can email the team on email@example.com with any questions.
Our land register completion webpages also contain lots of useful information about voluntary registration and as we head into 2017 the LRC team will continue to meet with our stakeholders across Scotland to discuss voluntary registration.”