Land Register applications – the inside view
A reminder of the support available from Registers of Scotland around the application process, including work to prevent rejections, and help when they occur
We appreciate there has been a lot of focus recently on our Land Register application process. As guardians of the Land Register, Registers of Scotland (RoS) holds a unique role as an integral part of property transactions in Scotland. We recognise the responsibility inherent in this position, as well that which comes with our status as a public body.
In everything we do, we focus on the solicitors, members of the public, and others we call our customers, and therefore we want to use this opportunity to provide a detailed understanding of the application process, while also touching on application rejections, why they usually happen, and the steps in place to assist.
A brief overview on LR applications
As readers of the Journal are likely aware, we process thousands of applications covering a wide range of property transactions, from the Land Register to the discharge of mortgage securities. The Land Register is our main and highest volume register; in the last year alone we’ve processed nearly 480,000 applications. This represents a tremendous undertaking, and therefore the smooth running of the entire process is in the best interests of everyone involved.
Rejections will inevitably happen, but it’s important to note that nine applications out of 10 are processed without issue. When they do occur, rejections are a challenge that we address on a case-by-case basis, to ensure we perform our role as guardian; the efficient maintenance of the Land Register, as prescribed by current legislation, is our main prerogative. It might be tempting to think that a rejected application will somehow equate to resubmission fees for RoS, but in fact we charge no additional resubmission fees. Ultimately, rejected applications only mean additional work hours, not only for us, but for the customers we serve.
Common reasons for rejections
We provide a number of services to assist customers throughout the application process, which will be discussed in more detail below. However, it’s important to note that the most common reasons for rejection are not abstract and subjective discrepancies in an application’s wording, but instead simple oversights that are easily addressed.
Some of the most common reasons why we have to reject an application are fundamental: either the wrong application type has been selected, or the application form isn’t signed. In other instances, supporting documentation has not been submitted for the application, like deeds or details on burdens and servitudes. The mapping of the deed is another important part; the Land Register operates with cadastral mapping, so plans submitted with the application must be capable of being mapped on our systems.
We’re here to help
The above list of reasons for rejection is not exhaustive, and though we work hard to minimise disruptions, difficulties and complicated cases are inevitable. However, our role doesn’t just begin once we receive an application; we offer a wide range of assistance, and many of the issues highlighted above can be avoided by taking advantage of this support.
Before a user submits their application, there’s already a wide range of information and support available. We’ve introduced a new way of displaying application assistance online, with a clear and intuitive knowledge base for vital reference information, to help ensure an application does not meet any difficulties. For the large number of solicitors who interact with RoS, we have a dedicated account management team that is an email or phone call away for guidance and advice throughout the process. As part of their remit, our account teams and other RoS staff run regular outreach workshops, designed to improve access to face-to-face interaction with RoS, so that specific questions can be addressed in person.
Alongside account management, we’ve recently launched our enhanced Plan Assistance Service (PAS). This digital service is specifically designed to facilitate property registration, using our unrivalled data resources to produce plans that align with both current legislation and our registration mapping process. Plus, with all information and correspondence centralised in our online portal, customers can keep track of progress throughout, while the process itself can usually be completed in a matter of days.
In instances where applications are rejected, we offer specific and committed support. Our account managers can supply rejection reports, which provide details behind any rejections, and guidance on avoiding future complications. Independent of the account management team, we also have a dedicated rejection team based in our Glasgow office, who will address rejected applications on a case-by-case basis, and provide tailored assistance to ensure a resubmitted application is successful.
The purpose of the support highlighted above is to facilitate the application process for all our customers. We hope this will answer some of the concerns around land registration; however, we are always happy to address specific questions – speak to your RoS account manager, or call us on 0800 169 9391.