It's one year since the Land Registration etc. (Scotland) Act 2012 introduced a different legal framework for land registration. Twelve months on, most of the changes are familiar to all. Those involved in conveyancing have adapted well and some 460,000 applications (including advance notices) have been presented for registration.
The 1979 Act is largely becoming a thing of the past. As expected, we received a significant influx of applications in advance of the designated day, leaving us with 41,000 applications to process under the old legislation. Virtually all of those applications have been completed, with only 55 left, which are held up because we are in dialogue with the submitting agent.
Dealings of whole have never been quicker or simpler, both for the applicant and for RoS. Seventy per cent of applications were completed in under five days, reflecting the fact that solicitors generally no longer need to submit supporting documentation other than the deed inducing registration. Transfers of part have the potential to be just as straightforward, especially with our development plan approval (DPA) service, which ensures any title and extent issues are resolved prior to sales of individual plots. The mapping requirements under the 2012 Act have encouraged developers to use DPA and we now have 249 developments throughout Scotland using this service. Find out more on our dedicated DPA service page.
First registrations present different challenges, reflecting the fact that conveyancing is less straightforward for properties held on titles recorded in the sasine register. To assist in the preparation of these applications, we've launched a plan assistance service, which translates old descriptions to the ordnance survey map, and we'll soon be introducing a new application checking service. This service will offer a preregistration check of your potential application to ensure it can meet the conditions of registration. Find out more at ros.gov.uk/services.
Over the year, we've run a number of first registration workshops for solicitors who want a more thorough understanding of the process, and will be running more next year. If you want to attend, or if there are any other issues that you would like to see us offering in-person support for, please email the customer relationship team.
As well as changing the day-to-day mechanics of registration, the 2012 Act had broader aspirations, such as completion of the land register and moving conveyancing and registration into a digital environment. We've been working with the Law Society and others on advancing these longer term goals.
The land register completion project is well under way. We have had very positive responses from owners to voluntary registration. The 1 April 2016 will see the closure of the sasine register to standard securities. And we're currently consulting on how keeper-induced registration (KIR) – a new power under the 2012 Act – could be used to speed up completion. This three-pronged approach – voluntary, triggers and KIR – has the potential to quicken the pace of completion significantly over the next few years.
Our digital transformation continues apace, and we are actively working with the Law Society, CML and others on improving our existing channels and introducing new digital channels, including a new e-discharge solution and, on the information front, a new Scottish land and information system. You can keep up to date with these changes at our insideRoS blog.
As Keeper of the Registers of Scotland, I want to close our first year in the 2012 Act world with a heartfelt thank you to RoS' customers and staff for their support, patience and enthusiasm since the designated day.