Rural Law

Hydro - river in fieldVoluntary registration of land in the Land Register is a subject that many of our clients are talking about.

My colleague, Lorna McKay previously blogged on this subject in May – but, four months on, are we much further forward?

I recently attended an event hosted by Scottish Lands and Estates on this topic. A presentation aimed at private landowners was given by a team from Registers of Scotland followed by a question and answer session.

It was clear from the discussion how keen Registers of Scotland are for private landowners to step forward and voluntarily register their land. However, it was also clear that many of the landowners in the audience had concerns about the process and the cost.

Many of the questions from the audience focused on voluntary registration versus “Keeper Induced” registration (KIR).

The team from Registers of Scotland explained that in KIR, Registers of Scotland will plot the title with no knowledge of what land is actually occupied by the landowner. They also advised that it is unlikely that KIR will take account of the rights benefiting an area of land (e.g. access).

Unfortunately, the Consultation on KIR has not yet been released (it is expected within the next couple of weeks) and there is still uncertainty as to what KIR will look like and what it will involve. For some, the question of whether to voluntary register land will depend on how good KIR will be as an alternative.

KIR will certainly be a cheaper (at least in the short term) – as a landowner won’t have to worry about registration dues, the cost of preparing a plan or legal fees. However, as noted above, the quality of information used to complete the registration may be lacking and therefore the end result might not be very accurate. It may be that the Consultation will provide some further detail for landowners trying to decide what option is best for them. We will blog further on that in due course.

If you have any queries about voluntary registration, please get in touch with a member of the Brodies’ Land and Rural Business Team.

Kate McLeish