Voluntary Registration – is it worth it?

Land in Scotland

Registration of title in the Land Register is now compulsory for all land sold in Scotland and the Scottish Government want all Scottish land to be registered by 2024.

The majority of Scotland’s land has never been registered or still remains in the Sasine Register, with rural properties representing a very high proportion of unregistered land due to farms and estates not changing hands as regularly as urban properties.

There are real benefits to ensuring your property is registered. Ultimately, if you are not the first to register your land and someone else registers part of your ground – proving it is yours can be more difficult, leading to court cases and costs. This has already happened in some cases – we have already been asked to comment in court.

It is also imperative that your property is registered if you are looking for a loan or overdraft –  you can not secure against your property unless it is registered.

The Scottish Government want all land in Scotland to be registered by 2024. One way in which Registers of Scotland (the Keeper of the Land Register) hope to achieve this goal is by Voluntary Registration. This is where private and public landowners are encouraged to submit an application for the registration of their property. The question for landowners is whether it is worthwhile applying for Voluntary Registration rather than waiting for a transactional trigger or Keeper Induced Registration. At present, little is known about the possible workings of Keeper Induced Registration.

Potential benefits of undertaking Voluntary Registration:

  • Clarifying boundaries and identifying what is owned
  • Avoiding ownership disputes
  • Being first onto the Land Register
  • State-backed title warranty
  • Simplifying an Estate title and avoiding piecemeal registration
  • Identifying what is owned
  • Avoiding the uncertainties of Keeper Induced Registration

Potential risks and costs of undertaking Voluntary Registration:

  • Keeper Induced Registration may provide a reasonable result
  • There are significant legal challenges in applying for Voluntary Registration of an Estate held on a Sasine Title with only a general description and a very large number of title deeds
  • Registration dues will be payable to the Keeper and will be based on the value of the land subject to the application for Voluntary Registration.
  • Registration dues are likely to form a much less significant proportion of the overall cost of applying for Voluntary Registration than the necessary professional fees.

Specific information on Voluntary registration and the fees can be found here: https://www.ros.gov.uk/services/voluntary-registration

You can search the Land Register to see whether your property has been registered or not at this link: https://scotlis.ros.gov.uk/

If you are considering an application for Voluntary Registration, please get in touch with a member of our team who will be happy to assist.


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