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New Register of Persons Holding a Controlled Interest in Land

Written by: Fraser Symon
12 April 2022

property blog april

A new Register of Persons Holding a Controlled Interest in Land (RCI) has been introduced in Scotland. The RCI came into effect on 1 April and will show who has control or significant influence over the owner or tenant of land and property in Scotland. When referring to a tenant or lease in this context, we mean a lease which is for more than 20 years, and which has been registered in the Land Register of Scotland or the General Register of Sasines.

The legislation will apply where the information on who has significant influence or control over the owner or tenant where it is not otherwise publicly transparent.

The register has been set up as the latest stage in the Scottish Government’s drive to introduce transparency of land ownership in Scotland. This means that once the RCI is fully in place, members of the public and any interested party can search the register to find out who the controlling party really is.

Who does this apply to?

Clearly, the vast majority of titles to land in Scotland will disclose the names of the individuals who own it. The RCI is designed to be used where the holder of the title and the person who controls it are not the same or where the controlling interest is not clear.

Some examples of this are:

  • Where the title is in the name of a partnership but since the date of registration of the title, new partners have been assumed;
  • Where the title is held by a Trust, but the Trust contains provisions whereby third parties have powers to deal with the property;
  • In circumstances where a club or association owns property through trustees, but it has a board of management who can make decisions in relation to the property;

These are just some circumstances where the person or organisation shown on the title must register the interest of the individuals involved who can influence or control what can happen to the property.

The regulations enabling this legislation are contained in The Land Reform (Scotland) Act 2016 (Register of Persons Holding a Controlled Interest in Land) Regulations 2021.

Who is responsible for providing the information?

The “Recorded Person” is responsible for providing the information to the RCI. The Recorded Person is the individual or entity in whose name the title has been registered. This obligation came into force on 1 April 2022 with a 12 month transitional period to allow entries to be made to the RCI before any enforcement action is taken. Any changes to the significant influence or controlling interest must be registered within 60 days of such a change occurring.

Those who hold a significant influence or controlling interest are called “Associates” and they must supply their contact details to the Recorded Person to record in the RCI. They must also inform the Recorded Person of any changes to their contact information.

From 1 April 2023, a failure to add or maintain an entry in the RCI or to give false information will be a criminal offence.

Are there any exemptions?

There are a number of exemptions, and these can be found in Schedule 2 of the Regulations. This list generally includes:

  • Limited companies incorporated in the UK
  • European public limited liability companies
  • Charitable incorporated organisations in Scotland and elsewhere in the UK
  • Building Societies, certain financial institutions, Friendly Societies and Credit Unions
  • Public Authorities
  • Scottish Partnerships and Limited Liability Partnerships

To find the definitive list of entitles that are exempt from registration, please click here.

Where can I find out more information?

The Registers of Scotland has produced a very informative video stepping through the requirements of RCI and the registration involved. We would encourage anyone involved in any of the organisations caught by this legislation to watch this video. You can view the video here:

You can also visit the Registers of Scotland page dedicated to RCI by clicking here.

If you have any questions about RCI or would like to discuss how your information can be registered, please contact us.

Written by:

Fraser Symon

Partner
After completing both primary and secondary school in North Berwick, Fraser studied at the University of Stirling where he obtained a degree in Business Law. Thereafter Fraser studied at the University of Dundee where Fraser obtained his Law Degree and Diploma in Legal Practice. Fraser is a keen sportsman and would list golf, football, skiing, squash and swimming as his favourites. When attending University in Dundee he was granted a golf scholarship and also obtained a University Colour in that activity.

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