Scotland’s new land ownership transparency register: What you need to know

Author: Gail Clarke, Associate, Murray Snell WS


The Register of Persons Holding a Controlled Interest in Land (RCI) is being introduced by the Registers of Scotland. The Register, which will go live on 1 April 2022, is the next step in the Scottish Government’s planned strategy to increase transparency in relation to land ownership in Scotland.

The regulations place a responsibility on owners and tenants (for more than 20 years) to supply information to RCI of their controlling interest from Friday 1 April 2022. There is a 12-month grace period to register before penalties become applicable for failure to do so.

Trusts, persons who have certain contractual or other arrangements with an individual who owns or tenants land (for more than 20 years) and overseas entities will all require to register; however, Charities, Registered Companies, Local Authorities and certain types of partnerships will be exempt.

How will the new Register work?

Individuals whose information is to be included in the Register as a person with influence or control over another may make a "security declaration". This would be made on the basis that inclusion in the Register of one or more of the individual's required details would put them, or another person connected to them, at risk of violence, abuse, threat of violence or abuse, or intimidation. While a security declaration is in force, no information about that individual will be disclosed in the Register.

It will be a criminal offence not to comply with the duties to register, punishable by a fine.

The Register will be free to use.

At this stage, it is believed that registration will be done electronically and that solicitors will be able to complete the registration as agents for their clients.

Further information on the process and the Regulations is expected to be released in the next few months. In the meantime, please do not hesitate to contact Gail Clarke or another member of the Murray Snell team should you have any questions about the RCI.

Gail Clarke is an Associate and forestry specialist within Murray Snell’s Estates, Forestry, Agricultural & Rural team and can be contacted by e-mail or by telephone on 0131 625 6625.

Murray Snell WS is part of the MacRoberts Group.

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