I write in response to the article “Toolkit for today's titles” (Journal, April 2015, 12).
We welcome all customer feedback, and it is particularly helpful in relation to the 2012 Act as we and the profession together address the challenges of new legislation. I regret that the toolkit article suggested there had been insufficient detailed help and communication from Registers of Scotland. A significant amount of detailed guidance was produced, in conjunction with the Property Law Committee of the Law Society of Scotland, in advance of the commencement date. Inevitably, some has required to be amended and updated where it has not been as clear or as helpful as it was intended to be. That process will continue as we, and our customers, learn from experience.
On the issues around mapping and plans reports, I accept there were a small number of cases around the designated day where a plans report was not followed at registration stage. We have reviewed internal guidance to ensure that staff completing plans reports are applying exactly the same criteria as staff processing registration applications.
The toolkit addresses the mapping of tenement properties and, in places, confuses slightly the cadastral map and cadastral units in the context of tenement mapping. Tenement properties represent an exception to the general rule that each plot of land is represented by a single cadastral unit. In tenements, a single cadastral unit (the steading extent) may represent the building and all the registered flats within it. That follows the recommendation of the Scottish Law Commission and also the Keeper's practice under the 1979 Act. The alternative would be to require more detailed mapping from applicants, including vertical boundaries. Section 16 of the 2012 Act also allows for this style of mapping to be used for other flatted buildings that would not traditionally be called tenements.
The toolkit included a matrix setting out suggested plans reports for different types of tenement applications. We do not agree with various elements of the matrix; for instance, no plans report is necessary for a sale of a flat that is already on the Land Register as a separate unit. We would refer readers to our own guidance on our website and, where in doubt, solicitors may wish to contact us at firstname.lastname@example.orgJohn King, business development director at Registers of Scotland