Land registering update (Covid 19)

3rd April 2020

Land registration is a key part of the conveyancing system in Scotland. It applies to residential, commercial and agricultural property. 

No property can change hands in Scotland without being registered in the Register of Sasines or the Land Register of Scotland.

Due to the outbreak of Coronavirus, on 24 March 2020 the Registers of Scotland closed its offices which had significant impact on property transactions. 

The Registers of Scotland can only accept paper-based applications for registration of changes of ownership and standard securities. As a result, no new applications for registration have been possible since that date and solicitors have been unable to continue with conveyancing transactions.

A part of the Coronavirus (Scotland) Bill relates to Land Register in order to allow for remaining property transactions to be completed, a greater level of protection against the risk of insolvency and to clarify the current situation the Bill does two main things.

PERIOD OF EFFECT OF ADVANCE NOTICES

It amends the current system of advance notices. Under the current law, advance notices can last for up to 35 days. The legislation extends the period of protection provided by an advance notice until 10 days after the day on which Registers of Scotland fully re-opens for new applications for registration.

ELECTRONIC DELIVERY OF COPY OF DEED TO REGISTERS IN SCOTLAND

The legislation allows for registration in the property registers to proceed on a copy (e.g. a scanned version) of a deed submitted to the Registers of Scotland by electronic means, such as by email. 

MEASURES

The measures introduced by the Coronavirus (Scotland) Bill are limited to the duration of the Coronavirus outbreak which means that most of the measures will expire on 30 September 2020, six months after they come into force. However, these may be extended for two further periods of six months, meaning that the measures in the Bill could be in force for a maximum of 18 months.