New level of transparency for land ownership in Scotland

25 March 2022 Property & Estate Agency Sharon Connolly

On 1st April 2022, a new register will open, the RCI, publicising details of people holding a controlling interest in land in Scotland. The purpose of the Register of Controlled Interests (RCI) is to hold a record of a person or persons that can influence decisions concerning ownership of land in Scotland, on a publicly accessible database.

Similar to the existing national register of those who are appointed as a Legal Guardian or a Power of Attorney, the concept of making this area relating to land ownership more transparent and for members of the public to easily understand who is in charge of specific areas of Scottish land, is welcomed by the public.

Those parties with a controlling interest must enter information about themselves in this new public register, along with details of the property, and the identity of persons who have power to exercise significant influence or control over what happens to the property. This means that office bearers for clubs and organisations, and properties that have been held in Trust, or via Partnerships now have to officially register information and publicise their details and keep this information up to date. Unincorporated bodies and overseas entities will also be included in the RCI, making it easier for people to find out who exactly has a controlling interest over a piece of land without this information being obscured by a trust name or the like.

The regulations are complex and there are some exemptions where the information is publicly available elsewhere, for example Limited Companies or Limited Liability Partnerships.

The new register opens next week, and although there is a one-year grace period for parties to register, it is important to speak to a solicitor to understand your particular obligations and how to make an entry in the register. Once this grace period ends next year, there will be heavy penalties for non-compliance and a person can be fined up to £5000.

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