The data used to produce this report is extracted from the Land Register, which is created from the information provided within applications for registration.
The risk of inaccurate data being submitted, and of inaccuracies being created by errors in the land registration process, is inherent but is mitigated by:
- checks done by solicitors
- pre-application checks and reports provided by RoS prior to solicitors submitting applications
- RoS registration officers conducting registration checks
- RoS Quality Team undertaking quality checks
- RoS Land & Property Data Team undertaking quality assurance on the data
Both the Land Registration etc. (Scotland) Act 2012 – which superseded the Land Registration Act (Scotland) 1979 on 8 December 2014 – and the Land Reform (Scotland) Act 2016 impose statutory duties on the Keeper which govern the role RoS holds within the Scottish legal and economic framework.
One of the most significant changes in the approach to land registration made following the implementation of the Land Registration etc. (Scotland) Act 2012 was to put the main responsibility of the accuracy of data submitted to RoS within the remit of the submitting agent (usually the solicitor acting on behalf of the purchaser) rather than the Keeper. This provides increased reliability on the quality of data we can extract from the documents submitted for registration in the Land Register since these agents have a greater responsibility to ensure the integrity of the register.
Rules were applied to standardise the naming conventions within the outwith UK data. This was required primarily because of the different versions of country names provided by submitting agents within their applications for registration and because of spelling errors. In order to rectify this, country names were standardised to UN naming conventions, and rules were created around other common variations. For example, references to ‘Dubai’ or ‘Abu Dhabi’ in the country field were changed to United Arab Emirates, and references to the ‘Channel Islands’ were changed to the individual island name.
Before this year’s release, the focus of this publication has been on outwith UK titles and as such this category has the higher level of quality assurance, which still stands. However, additional analysis has been conducted in this year’s report to cover UK ownership outwith Scotland, therefore the UK based titles received additional quality checks after being extracted from the Land Register. Placement in a UK-based pot is dependent on the information received by RoS at the time of registration, in particular the entries in the relevant address fields. This information, as outlined above, is subject to various checks before extraction and extra quality checks but still has a lower level of quality assurance than that attached to the outwith UK title information.
Due to technical and legal issues, some titles within the Scotland category may have an owner whose address at the time of registration was outwith the UK but have not been identified as such (for example, titles registered in favour of companies before December 2014 when the country of incorporation was only provided on a voluntary basis).
The Land and Property Titles in Scotland by Country of Origin statistical release was first published in March 2018 (data as at 31 December 2017). In that release there were around 230,000 unclassified titles, accounting for 13% of all titles registered with an owner address. For the current snapshot (data as at 31 December 2022) the quality checks being made on the data mean that there are no unclassified titles in the data although, for titles with a UK owner address outwith Scotland, not all titles are able to be assigned to a geographic region (online table 1).
Further information on the general quality assurance processes in place for RoS data is available in the Quality Assurance of Administrative Data document, as published for the UK House Price Index.
We would be grateful to users to continue to provide us with feedback on the quality and presentation of the data so we can continue to provide a product of the highest quality possible.