Register sheds new light on Scotland’s land ownership  

Published: 30 March 2022

Communities and individuals will soon be able to access a register of information to find out who has a controlling interest in Scotland’s land.

Launching on 01 April 2022, The Register of Persons Holding a Controlled Interest in Land (RCI) provides key information about those who ultimately make decisions about the management or use of land, even if they are not registered as the owner of the land, including overseas entities and trusts.

The register, established and maintained by the Keeper of the Registers of Scotland, will make it easier for individuals and communities to engage with those who make decisions about land issues that affect them.

Forming part of the Scottish Government’s wider land reform agenda, the RCI is intended to ensure there can no longer be categories of landowner, or tenants (with a registered or recorded long lease of more than 20 years), where, intentionally or otherwise, control of decision-making is obscured​.

The regulations place a responsibility on owners and tenants to supply information to RCI of their controlling interest from Friday 01 April 2022. Entry onto the register is free, with one year’s grace period (to 01 April 2023) when offence provisions for non-compliance come into force.

It is anticipated that the creation of the new public register will help empower people, and support policy making by enabling a fuller picture of those individuals who have control over decisions about land in Scotland.

Commenting on the RCI, Jennifer Henderson, Keeper of the Registers of Scotland, said:

“Registers of Scotland are delighted to have been given the responsibility to establish and maintain the Register of Persons Holding a Controlled Interest in Land. The register will become a valuable source of information and bring greater transparency of who makes decisions about the country’s land and property.

“It will deliver valuable insight to citizens and communities across Scotland.”

Environment and Land Reform Minister Mairi McAllan said:

“The launch of this new register marks a significant milestone towards making land ownership in Scotland more transparent. I want to ensure that there can no longer be categories of landowner or tenant where, intentionally or otherwise, control of decision-making is obscured, including in or via overseas trusts or entities.

“Scotland has a long history of land reform, with the first of a number of statutory Community Right to Buy and the right of responsible access being flagship measures brought in by the Scottish Parliament in the early days of devolution.

“The new register will make Scotland a frontrunner in Europe and deliver greater transparency than any other part of the UK. It enables the public to look behind land ownership and identify those who control decision making.

“We have committed to bring forward a new Land Reform Bill over the course of this parliament which will further strengthen the powers of local communities in land matters.”

Find out more

Learn more about RCI in our guidance articles