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No Longer Welcome- Securities and the Sasine Register

For the past few years, there has been a legislative push to move all title to land in Scotland onto a single, map based Land Register of Scotland. The target date for completion of this task is 2024- a very ambitious timescale given that currently less than 30% by area and less than 60% by number of titles are registered in the Land Register.

Up until recently, it was generally only a requirement to register a title in the Land Register when it was being transferred or sold for value. If the transaction did not involve such a transfer, then the title could happily remain recorded in the General Register of Sasines (the older, deed based register). This has meant that records of land ownership in Scotland remain split between two separate registers, neither of which is in any way complete (hence the push to move all title over to the Land Register).

In order to speed up the process of moving all titles away from the Sasine Register, the Keeper of the Land Register has increased the number of circumstances which can lead to registration in the Land Register so that a transfer of title is not always a requirement. It is now necessary to consider whether registration is necessary when mortgaging or re-mortgaging an existing property in Scotland.

On 1st April 2016, the Keeper closed the Sasine Register to Standard Securities. This means that Standard Securities can now only be registered in the Land Register (registration is required for them to be effective)- a problem where the underlying title to the property being secured is still recorded in the Sasine Register (around 5000 such applications take place each year- a small % of the title).

In such cases, the Borrower effectively needs to voluntarily register the underlying title before the Keeper can accept the application to register the Standard Security. While the Keeper will waive the usual registration dues for registering the title (only the usual £60 to register the Security will be payable), the requirement to submit a plan suitable for registration and the preparation of the application is likely to lead to increased costs and delay on the part of the Borrower. That said, once registered, any future dealings with the property are likely to be faster, easier and cheaper.

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