I have just been examining a big bundle of titles which were all dusty, making me sneeze, and some were barely legible. These titles relate to a property which has not yet been registered in the Land Register of Scotland but are titles recorded in Scotland’s General Register of Sasines , the oldest national land register in the world dating back to 1617. The Register’s name comes from the old French word ‘seizer’ meaning take and is a chronological list of land deeds which contain written descriptions of properties.
In 1981 the Land Register of Scotland was introduced which is a register of who owns land and property in Scotland, is based on the Ordinance Survey map and includes plans of registered properties with each property on the register having a title sheet. The title plan defines the extent of the property on a map. The title sheet gives details of the current owners, price, mortgage details, and the conditions affecting the property. This title sheet is guaranteed by the Government.
In terms of the Land Registration (Scotland) Act 2012 a cadastral map is now used which is a base map showing the totality of registered real rights in land. The aim is to have all Scottish land on this new digital map –based Land Register by 2024.
However only 30% of Scottish land is currently registered, so to speed up the process, Registers of Scotland has introduced ‘Keeper –Induced Registration’ (KIR). Rather than waiting for trigger events such as sale of land, the Land Register is transferring titles from the old Sasine Register to the Land Register itself. In certain areas in Angus, Dumbarton, Glasgow and Midlothian and others it may already have happened to your property. There is a post code check at this page of the ROS website :https://www.ros.gov.uk/about-us/land-register-completion/keeper-induced-registration.
Leaving registration to the Registers means landowners have no control over the process and although saving registration dues and not having to fill in any paperwork, errors can occur. There may be issues around unfenced boundaries or rights of access. Also title deeds from the old Sasine Register often overlap. If these are not taken into account at the time of KIR, owners may face great inconvenience to rectify matters or prove their title.
There is therefore a strong argument for voluntary registration with homeowners being in control, avoiding errors, having clear boundaries, making their property more marketable and speeding up the conveyancing process.