Registers of Scotland briefings on the coming of electronic scanning; shared office with the SDLT team; house price figures
Registers of Scotland (RoS) will shortly be introducing up-front electronic scanning of all applications for registration in the Land Register. This will allow, in due course, RoS staff to carry out the legal and plans examination of applications electronically and so speed up the registration process.
However, the scanning process can only work efficiently if all applications are accompanied by an application form. Solicitors will be familiar with the terms of rule 9(1) of the Land Registration (Scotland) Rules 2006, which requires that an application for registration in the Land Register be accompanied by the appropriate application form (Form 1, 2 or 3 depending on the type of application being presented).
Current RoS practice is to reject an application and return the deeds and documents to the submitting solicitor if the application is accompanied by the wrong form, or is not accompanied by any application form. In only one case will RoS presently give effect to a deed that is not accompanied by the appropriate application form. That is where on a sale, an existing heritable standard security is being discharged and the discharge is submitted along with the application for registration of the purchaser’s interest. In that circumstance RoS has not insisted on a Form 2 accompanying the registration of the discharge. Rather RoS give effect to the discharge without the need for any application form.
However, after 5 January 2009, RoS will no longer accept discharges that are presented for registration without an application form 2. In addition, if such a form is not accompanied by the correct registration fee, the application will be rejected. Solicitors can expect to receive a Registers Update in December on these, and other changes relating to the introduction of scanning.
SDLT team moves to Erskine House
From Monday 15 December 2008, Registers of Scotland will share our offices in Erskine House, Queen Street, Edinburgh with the stamp duty land tax (SDLT) team from Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs (HMRC). This will make our Customer Service Centre a one stop shop for those transactions where personal presentment of the SDLT return and the title application is necessary and appropriate.
The Law Society of Scotland has welcomed this joined-up government initiative. Commenting on the move, James Aitken, who sits on the Society’s tax law committee, said:
“This is very good news for the profession. The Society welcomes the decision of HMRC to move the Edinburgh Stamp Office to the Registers of Scotland’s Customer Service Centre. The tax committee has campaigned for a number of years for thisto happen.
“Being under one roof offers real practical benefits to solicitors when it comes to registering a property, particularly if time is a concern and SDLT is due. I’m sure that many of us have at some point had to make the journey out to Sighthill and then Queen Street on a Friday afternoon with the instructions: ‘This deed must be registered today’. Those days are at an end. One trip to Queen Street will now suffice.
“In addition, the sharing of the same premises will also hopefully result in more assistance being available to the legal profession on how SDLT should be applied in Scotland.”
We will cover the HMRC move in more detail in the next edition of the Journal.
House prices flat as volumes decline
On 12 November, Registers of Scotland published its latest quarterly house price data.
This showed that the all-Scotland average house price for the third quarter (July to September) of 2008 increased by 0.1% over the same period in 2007. Whilst the average price of a residential property in Scotland increased by 2.9% in the third quarter of 2008 when compared with the second quarter (April to June), the months of August and September decreased below the previous year’s monthly average price for the first time since 2001.
The average all-Scotland price for the third quarter of 2008 was £160,155.
The volume of sales transactions showed a decrease of 41.1% compared to the same quarter last year and a decrease of 19.4% on the previous quarter.
Tables showing the average house price, value and volume of residential sales in Scotland by local authority area are available at: ros.gov.uk/aboutus/ pressreleases.htmll
ARTL UPDATE – as at 26 November
11,931 ARTL transactions have taken place.
103 solicitors’ firms are currently on the ARTL system.
15 lenders are currently on the ARTL system.
6 local authorities are using the system.
15 full sign up meetings scheduled for the next four weeks.
For up-to-date information and a full list of participating firms and companies go to: ros.gov.uk/artlk