Property Ownership in Scotland
Following on from our previous article on property ownership in Scotland, another fundamental difference between English and Scottish property law is the way in which property is owned north and south of the border and the different property registers.
In Scotland there are very few leasehold properties and the majority of proprietors own their properties and the land built upon it – this is similar to the concept of “freehold” in England. In England however, in most cases, the proprietor tends to enter into a very lengthy lease (such as 99 years) with the freehold proprietor and acquires the leasehold interest.
For now, Scotland has two main property registers, the Land Register, introduced in 1981 and somewhat equivalent to the Land Registry in England and the uniquely Scottish Sasine Register, an old historic register dating back to 1617.
The General Register of Sasines
The Sasine Register, which will eventually be phased out, is a register of deeds and the oldest register in the world. To eventually close the Sasine Register, Registers of Scotland has now placed a stop on Standard Securities being recorded in the Sasine Register. If a Standard Security is received by Registers of Scotland in respect of a property that is registered in the Sasine Register this will automatically induce registration of the property into the Land Register. It is the intention of Registers of Scotland to phase out the Sasine Register with the aim of all land being registered in the Land Register by 2024.
Rather than a register of deeds, the Land Register is a digital map based public register of interests in land. Since 2002 proprietorship information about the Land Register can be accessed online through Registers Direct for a relatively small fee - making the information easily accessible to the public. This Register allows questions on land ownership to be answered based on a map based search.
For more information contact Shabnam Hanif.
This article is for general guidance only. We are not, under any circumstances, providing advice or accepting any liability for any party who may seek to rely on the terms of this article.