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Land registration in Scotland

This information only applies in Scotland.

If you buy land or property, you must go through a registration process so that you're legally recognised as the new owner. This is done by registering the title deeds in the Land Register of Scotland. Read this guide for more information on the land registration process in Scotland.

Last reviewed 10 November 2022.

This is the main register of who owns individual pieces of land and property in Scotland. It is kept up-to-date by the Registers of Scotland, a non-ministerial department of the Scottish Government. As well as the Land Register, Registers of Scotland are in charge of another 17 public registers such as the Scottish Landlords Register and the Crofting Register.

The Land Register is based on the Ordnance Survey map and includes plans of each property registered. When you buy a property or a piece of land, you must register the title deeds in the Land Register. These are the legal documents that go with the property. As well as showing who the owner is, the title deeds contain other information like the property’s value and whether a mortgage has been taken out to buy it. The Land Register also has historical information about each property.

In 2012, the Government brought in new rules for registering property in Scotland under the Land Registration (Scotland) Act 2012. Now, when a property is sold, or when a new mortgage is taken out, it automatically moves to the Land Register.

Registers of Scotland is also encouraging owners to voluntarily register their properties in the Land Register to help give a clearer picture of property ownership in Scotland. Doing so will make it easier, faster and cheaper when it comes to selling your property in the future, or if you plan to leave it to someone in your Last will and testament.

The first stage in registering your property is to complete an application form. You can get this from the Registers of Scotland or complete the form online.

Once you’ve submitted the application form, there are four stages to go through in registering the property. On the day you submit it, officers from the Registers of Scotland will do a basic check of the form. Next, a more detailed examination is carried out to make sure everything has been filled out correctly. The plans of the property are then compared with the Ordnance Survey map to make sure they match up. Finally, checks are carried out to make sure all legal requirements have been met.

There is no legal requirement that you instruct a solicitor to register your property. You can complete the process yourself or ask a non-qualified person to do it for you. However, the application process can be complicated. There is also a ‘one-shot rule’ for applications. This means that if you don’t get your application right the first time it will be rejected and you’ll have to apply again. Having to apply more than once can be expensive and time-consuming. Working with a lawyer can make this much easier.