Have you ever read a land certificate? If not, can I recommend one of the certificates for our homes at Riverside Point, Braehead? Each certificate has seven deeds of conditions, numerous title writs and a long and complicated s 75 agreement. It provides a fascinating legal history of Renfrew’s transformation by the Intu shopping centre and numerous house builders.
It would make an incredible story – if only anyone could read it. The certificate is nearly 60 pages of relatively unformatted text. It’s not the worst I’ve ever read, but if you had to compare it to anything I’d say it was like an optician’s chart. You can read the first line but, dear God, it’s a struggle to read the second, third, 15th…
As a house builder we have many titles like this – long, complicated land certificates which contain a century of title deeds topped off with some complicated s 75 arrangements and one or more deeds of conditions. They’re horrendous to read. Not because they’re written in legalese, but instead because all formatting was removed when they were converted from deeds into the land certificate. While formatting has improved (I recently saw a land certificate that used paragraphs: hallelujah!), I believe we can and should do more to improve the layout and readability of land certificates.
As a suggestion, as part of the Keeper’s responsibility to complete the register, could she use this opportunity to look again at the format of certificates to improve their look and feel? Certificates have barely changed since the 1979 Act. Can we see proper paragraphs? Bold headings? Even a new, less dated font? Anything which helps make documents more readable and usable so that reading a certificate becomes (relatively speaking!) a pleasure, not a chore. One day we might even have certificates that clients could read and understand. I can but dream!Andy Todd, legal counsel, Springfield Real Estate Management Ltd, for Springfield Properties plc