Modernising your title deeds – planning for voluntary registration

Modernising your title deeds – planning for voluntary registration

As we move into autumn, and all too quickly into winter, the end of 2022 is nearly upon us. These long dark nights may give you time to consider your plans for next year and one of those may be to become more organised. You may already do your banking, shopping, and manage your pension online but now you can also buy, own, and manage your property digitally too.

We are often contacted by clients who say ‘we just want to find out…’ about our access rights, maintenance obligations or what we can do on the property. For example, can we run a business from our home? To find an answer your solicitor will have to access and examine your title deeds and report back to you.

However, if you are a property owner and your titles are still in the old Register of Sasines, rather than in the plan-based Land Register of Scotland, you can apply to voluntarily register your title and then should be able to answer many, if not all, these queries yourself.

Unregistered title – history should stay in the past 

If the title to your property is still in the old Sasine Register, you or your solicitor will likely have a bundle of title deeds. The thought of sitting down, reading, and understanding these can be daunting, especially if you need to check them quickly. Many older deeds don’t include plans, some may have a “bounding description” and other wording which can be almost incomprehensible. These older Sasine titles generally consist of deeds in favour of the current and historical owners, and often several deeds need to be read together to understand the different rights and obligations on you as owner.

Often titles may be missing and the solicitor examining the deeds may need to use a searching service to determine all the relevant deeds and other neighbouring properties which share the same access rights, or obligations for maintenance, etc.

Avoiding a keeper-induced registration

The Scottish Government aims to have all titles to land in Scotland registered in the Land Register of Scotland by 2024 and moved out of the Sasine Register. If that isn’t achieved, they may have rights to carry out keeper-induced registration, which would allow the keeper (of the Land Register of Scotland) to move property titles from the General Register of Sasines on to the Land Register. This process may be completed without you, the owner of the property, having a say in what is registered. It will be far better to be involved and control your land register application.

Registered title – go digital

Once registered, all title deeds can be viewed digitally and can be easily accessed in one document. There are many other benefits of undergoing this process, for example:

  • The process will enable you to confirm the boundaries of your property and fully identify what you own. This could assist in avoiding ownership disputes and be of great assistance to your successors.
  • It will allow you to receive a state-backed warranty provided by the keeper (of the Land Register of Scotland) of your ownership of the property.
  • Going digital will simplify your title, so you can understand it clearly and more efficiently as well as cost effectively transfer it in any future transactions.
  • Avoiding a keeper induced registration where you will have no control.
  • Benefit from the reduced the costs of registration (which are currently being discounted by 25% by the keeper). 

If you are interested in registering your title or in finding out more about this process, please contact the Rural Land and Business Team at Anderson Strathern using the contact form on this page.

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