The first is midnight on 27 November 2014 - after which some landowners will lose their right to enforce certain burdens (or covenants) on Scottish property unless they have registered a notice in the Land Register by that time. For more detail on this please refer to my article in July last year on "Scottish title rights which expire on 27 November 2014 - how to protect yourself".
The second is 28 September 2015 - which is the last day on which a tenant, under certain types of very long lease, can opt out of having its interest convert to ownership. The affected leases are those:
- that were granted for more than 175 years
- that still have at least 175 years (or 100 years for residential) left to run and
- whose annual rent is not more than £100.
If it doesn't opt out, then the tenant becomes owner (on 28 November 2015) and the former landlord loses its title. You might think that no tenant would want to opt out of such a windfall, but there are payment obligations that could deter a tenant from allowing conversion (which will otherwise be automatic) to occur. For more detail on this please refer to my article in August last year on "Scottish long leases converting to ownership".
There are also a number of other earlier time deadlines for landlords in relation to challenging whether a lease qualifies to convert and related to compensation recoverable if a lease does convert.
So, should you be concerned and/or doing anything about this?
Scottish title rights which expire on 27 November 2014
If you think, having looked at the July 2013 article, that you own property which currently benefits from a time limited entitlement to enforce title conditions, and you wish to continue to have title to enforce from 28 November 2014 onwards, then we recommend that you seek legal advice now about getting the appropriate notice registered as soon as possible.
If you do not know whether this applies to you - but you do know that you currently have title to enforce a restriction or other burden (usually) relative to neighbouring land, and you are sure that you want to continue to have that entitlement - then you might want to ask for legal advice as to whether the burden falls into one of the affected categories.
Scottish long leases converting to ownership - should tenants be doing anything now?
As you'll have seen from the August 2013 article, landlords cannot prevent conversion of qualifying leases. It is only tenants who can opt out.
If you are a tenant and you don't want to pay the compensation which will be due to the former landlord, then you need to opt out by 28 September 2015.
If you are a landlord then the following deadlines apply to you:
21 February 2015
Last date for the landlord to apply to the Lands Tribunal:
- to convert a lease condition into a condition that burdens the tenant's ownership interest or
- to show that a variable lease rent exceeded £100 at some time in the five years before August 2012, in order to remove the lease from the conversion category - but be aware that application cannot be made until the landlord has first tried to reach agreement with the tenant, so the real deadline to start this process is before this February date.
28 May 2015
If a landlord is seeking compensation which exceeds £500, then it must serve a preliminary notice by this date or the payment will be capped at £500.
28 September 2015
Last date for a landlord to register a notice about the rent exceeding £100, in order to remove the lease from the conversion category - but it cannot so register unless it has agreed this with the tenant or has obtained a Lands Tribunal order (for which it would have to have applied by 21 February 2015).