The Scottish Government want the whole of Scotland to be on the map based Land Register as soon as possible. One of the methods to be used to achieve this is to permit the Land Register, on its own initiative, to take properties whose titles are currently in the GRS and to register them in the Land Register. This is to be known as Keeper Induced Registration or KIR.
The GRS dates back to 1617 and is the oldest register of titles to land in the world. Despite its great historical significance, the GRS became unsuited to current requirements as it was simply a register of deeds. It was not always easy, when examining a title recorded in the GRS, to work out the extent of the title or the rights or obligations which pertained to it.
From 1981, Scottish titles started to be registered in the map based Land Register which became fully operational for all areas of Scotland in 2003.
The Land Register shows the extent of each registered title on the Ordnance Survey Map and it is easily accessible on line. The boundaries of any property registered in the Land Register are clearly outlined and defined. The aim is eventually to have a complete, digitised, register of all of Scotland's land mass.
Taking too long to get all titles out of GRS into the Land Register
Transferring all titles from the old deeds based system of the GRS to the Land Register is an ongoing, gradual process - as, for the most part, titles only move into the Land Register when there is a change of ownership. Currently, 59% of all potential titles in Scotland have made the switch to the Land Register.
Registers of Scotland ("RoS"), the entity which operates both registers, are aiming to complete the Land Register by 2024, with the interim goal of all public land being registered by 2019.Various methods are being used to increase the rate of transfers into the Land Register including phased closure of the GRS to certain deeds, automatic registration of titles when new leases are granted, voluntary registration and KIR.
The transfer of title to any property whose title is still in the GRS will trigger a switch to the Land Register by inducing first registration. Voluntary registration is where an owner voluntarily registers his property in the Land Register when no transfer of title is involved. This was discussed by Amy Entwistle in her article in February 2015.
KIR gives the RoS power to register an unregistered plot of land in the Land Register without an application or consent from the owner ie registration is induced by RoS themselves, or rather by the Keeper of the RoS.
RoS have run several pilot schemes to try to establish the most effective way to use the KIR powers. From these pilot schemes, RoS have concluded that using KIR for properties within "research areas" is the best way to aid completion of the Land Register. "Research Areas" are areas where the Keeper is already aware of the rights and burdens affecting the relevant property.
RoS estimates that 700,000 properties, out of the remaining 1.2 million that are still to be registered, fall within a research area and, as such, using KIR for these properties will go a long way towards increasing the percentage of properties registered in the Land Register.
Following on from the pilot schemes, RoS have recently launched a consultation to get views as to how KIR should be used to complete the Land Register. The consultation process invites respondents to provide answers to a range of questions centred around whether they agree with RoS' approach about how KIR can and should be used. Responses to the consultation are now sought and will be received by RoS up to 8 January 2016.