Scottish ministers have agreed to offer a 25 per cent reduction in voluntary registration fees as part of efforts to complete Scotland's Land Register.
The announcement comes as Registers of Scotland (RoS) publishes its consultation report on Land Register completion. Scottish ministers have invited RoS to complete the Land Register by 2024, with all public land registered by 2019.
As well as charging a lower fee, RoS will no longer have the legal power to refuse applications for voluntary registration. This change will formalise the existing open-door policy for voluntary registrations that RoS has operated for some time.
Charles Keegan, RoS's head of land register completion, said:
"A completed Land Register will be a national asset for Scotland, providing a single, comprehensive, publicly searchable register that gives clarity on who owns what.
"Voluntary registration is one of the main ways we can speed up the completion process. Having a property registered on the Land Register offers owners greater certainty over their title, as well as creating an easier, faster, and less expensive way to transact with property."
Another recommendation of the consultation report is the closure of the General Register of Sasines to standard securities, and the waiving of the voluntary registration fee for the affected title. RoS estimates that this proposal will lead to around five per cent of the titles currently on the Sasine Register being moved to the Land Register by 2024.
Around 58 per cent of all Scottish properties are on the Land Register – this is about 26 per cent of Scotland's land mass. Almost all the remaining properties are held on the General Register of Sasines. Previously, properties mostly transferred from the Sasine to the Land Register through change in ownership.
The proposals set out in the consultation report are due to take effect later this year after discussion with stakeholders and subject to the required secondary legislation coming into force.