The Register of Persons Holding a Controlled Interest in Land ("RCI") comes into force today, 1 April, seeking to show who has a dominant influence over the registered owner or tenant of land in Scotland.

Managed by Registers of Scotland, the register will show persons and entities ("associates") who have significant influence or control over five categories of registered owners, or tenants of leases longer than 20 years, of property in Scotland ("recorded persons").  

There is no cost to record an entry, or to inspect the RCI, but from 1 April 2023 it will be a criminal offence to fail to register, punishable by a fine.

The Scottish Government has prepared an explanatory document to be read alongside the regulations, and Registers of Scotland has published guidance on the RCI on their website. 

In addition, the Property Professional Support Lawyers Group has prepared an article, now available on the Journal web pages, which has more detail about the application of the regulations and further examples. 

Categories of owner/tenant who will be obliged to register include: 

  • individuals who are subject to contracts or other arrangements;
  • partnerships;
  • trusts;
  • unincorporated associations; and
  • overseas entities (which will also need to register in the Register of Overseas Entities, when the relevant provisions of the Economic Crime (Transparency and Enforcement) Act 2022 come into force).

All of these categories are subject to exceptions. 

The obligation to register applies to interests in land that are already controlled, as well as those that become controlled on or after 1 April 2022. They should register within the next 12 months in order to avoid the criminal penalty. 

The primary obligation to register is imposed on the recorded person, but associates also have obligations if they do not receive a notification from the recorded person. However there is no additional duty on property lawyers to carry out searches when transacting with a property.