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New build: new process

21 January 13

RoS and Taylor Wimpey have piloted a new process for the conveyancing and registration of new housing developments that aims to reduce the risk factor in relation to titles

by Registers of Scotland

We are all aware of the risks inherent in relation to new-build properties. Perhaps the most significant risk is the possibility that the developer has inadvertently built part of the development outwith their legal title.

Very often the first evidence of a title problem is when Ordnance Survey pick up the “as built” detail and reflect that on the map they provide to RoS for use within the Land Register systems. This data allows discrepancies to be shown between what has been built “on the ground” and the underlying legal title.

The OS published target for capturing new data is to do so within six months of completion, by which time the purchaser has moved in, is likely to be paying a mortgage and neither the developer nor the purchaser are aware that there is an issue.

Resolving such problems at this stage is not easy, and both the developer and the purchaser are placed in a difficult and potentially irresolvable situation.

Both Taylor Wimpey and RoS consider that it would be preferable and beneficial for all involved in the purchase of a new-build property to identify and resolve any discrepancies at the outset.

Development Plan Approval Service

By working with Taylor Wimpey over the past 12 months, RoS has developed new additions to the existing development plan approval mapping service. These services, which can be tailored to meet the specific requirements of particular developers, are:

Where the developer is acquiring land for immediate development, we will undertake to complete the registration within 60 days. If the development has previously been recorded in the Sasine Register, we would encourage the developer to voluntarily register the title to the development. This means that both the developer and any prospective purchaser are clear as to the legal extent of the development.

In order to then provide assurances or to identify any problems with the planned estate, we can compare a proposed deed of conditions plan with the legal title for the development.

This will highlight whether or not there are any underlaps or overlaps with neighbouring titles, which will enable them to be addressed before any sales take place. This is a chargeable service in line with the P16 comparison service.

The developer is encouraged to use the deed of conditions plan as the basis for future deed plans for individual conveyances. By providing the reassurance that all properties fall within the development, this enables the Keeper to prepare a title plan more efficiently, thus speeding up the registration process for individual house plots to a matter of weeks.

Realised benefits

Gail Docherty, solicitor for Taylor Wimpey in Scotland, said: “Taylor Wimpey was delighted to put itself forward to assist RoS with its pilot of the development plan approval mapping service, and we believe the process now delivers a service that offers real benefits to house builders across the board.

“Using real-time projects, we’ve been able to test and refine aspects of the service, and we’re delighted with the outcomes that our business has experienced, which include certainty to both Taylor Wimpey and its customers that legal boundaries have been agreed as part of the approval process, therefore removing costly and sometimes unforeseen legal challenges on land ownership.

“We’ve also seen a positive impact on cost savings during the land purchase exercise, which is always good news for business, and we believe the new service is a real asset to the industry.”

For further information contact Rhona Elrick at: rhona.elrick@ros.gov.uk

                                                                                        

ARTL update

As at 20 December 2012

  • 66,122 applications have been made
  • 696 solicitors’ firms are currently on the ARTL system
  • 29 lenders are currently on the ARTL system
  • 13 local authorities are using the system

ARTL can now process applications containing a transfer with a value of more than £1 million.

For up-to-date information and a full list of participating practices and companies, go to www.ros.gov.uk/artl
 

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