Rural Law

Registers of Scotland (“RoS”) has launched ScotLIS, an online service providing public access to land and property information, some of which is available free of charge. Andrew Askew Blain was invited by RoS to preview the service and take part in the private beta testing of ScotLIS prior to the public launch.

ScotLIS is viewed by RoS as playing a key role in land reform and RoS’ digitalisation transformation, with the aim that “citizens, communities, professionals and businesses will be able to access comprehensive information about any piece of land or property in Scotland more easily than ever before”.

The 400-year-old Sasine Register, the world’s oldest register of land ownership, is being phased out and all properties in Scotland are gradually being transferred to the Land Register, a digital map-based public record of land ownership. To date, 63% of Scottish property has been Land Registered, representing almost a third of the total land mass; nearly 2.5 million hectares. RoS has a target of completing the Land Register by 2024.

ScotLIS provides public access to some of RoS’ digital data. It is intended that the service will eventually combine with other public sector datasets to offer other property information such as advising whether a property is a listed building.

Properties can be searched by address or postcode and results confirm if a property has been registered in the Land Register. If a property is not Land Registered, the search result will only show its general location marked on the Ordnance Survey map, no other information is currently provided.

If a property has been Land Registered, the free search will show the Land Register title number, the last date of purchase (if applicable), the last price paid (if this information is available) and the registered extent of the property on the Ordnance Survey map. It should be noted however that the website states that the boundaries shown on the map are not a precise representation. Only official title information can be relied upon, namely the title sheet for the property, which can be ordered through a paid-for service. RoS has advised that in time, they will extend the service to allow access to more of the data held on the Land Register.

Below is an extract of the information currently available on ScotLIS for Edinburgh Castle:

 

 

Therefore, once a property has been found on ScotLIS, copy title deeds will need to be ordered and examined to obtain further property information such as:

  • details of the owner;
  • the precise legal boundaries; and
  • the extent of access rights; and
  • establishing who is responsible for maintenance of boundary features.

For more information or to discuss this in more detail please contact Alan Gibson or your usual Brodies contact.