Registers of Scotland (RoS) will start to move land and property titles from the deeds-based General Register of Sasines onto the map-based land register from later this year.
This will be done through a new power, Keeper-induced Registration (KIR) which allows the keeper of the Registers of Scotland, Sheenagh Adams, to move titles from one public register to another without an application from the owner. A land register title will make future property transactions faster, easier and cheaper for everyone involved.
The proposals were shaped by a number of pilot projects in 2015 along with a 12-week public consultation which garnered 70 responses. A series of workshops on KIR were also held across the country in November and feedback from these helped to shape the final plans.
Scottish ministers have invited the keeper to complete the land register by 2024 for all private land, and by 2019 for all publicly-owned titles. Currently, around 59 per cent of titles are on the land register, which is about 28 per cent of the land mass, with the remaining titles held on the sasine register.
KIR will be undertaken in what RoS refers to as 'research areas'. These are commonly urban areas of Scotland where significant work has been undertaken to identify the rights and burdens shared by high volumes of similar properties, for example residential housing estates.
Sheenagh Adams said: "For the last year, RoS has been actively encouraging larger landowners to make voluntary applications to add their titles onto the land register. As a digital, map-based register, it provides clarity of who owns what and where across Scotland and it makes any future transactions on land and property faster, easier and cheaper.
"By using KIR, we can swiftly add large volumes of titles onto the land register and give home owners a title sheet that provides a clear picture of their assets along with a state-backed guarantee of title.
"A completed land register will become the base layer for a hub of land and property information to be launched next year."
Undertaking KIR in the 35,599 research areas could bring up to 700,000 titles onto the land register, a significant proportion of the 1.2million titles that are still on the sasine register.
Minister for Business, Energy and Tourism, Fergus Ewing, said: "Starting to use KIR will dramatically speed up the process of completing the land register.
"The plan to give the keeper this power was introduced through the Land Registration etc. (Scotland) Act 2012 and means homeowners will be moved from the sasine register onto the land register without having to make an application. Through this, they will gain greater surety of title.
"We have asked RoS to prioritise completing the land register to allow people across Scotland to benefit from the same rights of ownership that everyone gets by having their title on the map-based, digital publicly-available land register.
"We are on our way to completing the picture of Scotland's land ownership and providing a national asset for all."
Before KIR is undertaken in a research area, RoS will engage with the local conveyancing community along with elected representatives and citizen advocacy groups. Once titles have been added to the land register through KIR, we will write to homeowners telling them their title has been moved from one public register to another and providing them with free access to their title sheet.
RoS is currently in the process of setting up the team and systems required to undertake KIR with the first test areas planned to begin in the autumn.
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