A new register has been set up by the Registers of Scotland. It is designed to bring in property ownership transparency. It is called the Register of Persons Holding a Controlled Interest in Land, RCI for short. The purpose is to show who has a significant influence or control over the owner or tenant of land and property in Scotland. The register was established under The Land Reform (Scotland) Act 2016 (Register of Persons Holding a Controlled Interest in Land) Regulations 2021. The RCI has been live since 1 April 2022. It is free to make an entry in the RCI. It is also free to search the RCI.
The purpose of the register is to provide a greater degree of transparency over the ownership of land in Scotland. Members of the public can search it for free to find out who a controlling party is.
This Regulation will catch opaque organisations whose names appear on the Title Sheet. However, it also applies to other organisations such as golf and social clubs, trusts and partnerships.
To whom do these new rules of Property Ownership Transparency apply?
Individuals, whose name is shown on the Title Sheet, do not have to make an entry in the RCI. Organisations whose ultimate ownership is in the publid domain do not have to complete the RCI. An example of this would be a private limited company.
However, where an organisation is shown on the Title Sheet, unless the ultimate ownership is already in the public domain, the RCI must be completed.
Examples of these types of entries on the Title Sheet are as follows:
- Where a Trust is registered on the Title Sheet but a manager can deal with property title issues, the manager’s details must be shown on the RCI;
- Where a Partnership holds the title but there have been changes in the partnership, the current partners details must be registered;
- In the case of a club or an association, if a management committee deals with property issues, details of the individuals on the management committee must have their details entered on the RCI.
This list is not exhaustive. There are other title structures where the individuals holding a controlling interest or exercising significant influence will have to disclose their details.
Who has to complete the RCI?
Whoever’s name appears on the Title Sheet or in a Disposition recorded in the General Register of Sasines is the “Recorded Person”. The Recorded Person has the obligation to complete the RCI.
The individual who exercises a controlling interest or a significant influence is known as the “Associate”. The Recorded Person needs to complete the RCI with the details of all Associates involved in the title to the property.
Whilst the RCI was opened in April 2022, there is a 1 year grace period. This means Recorded Persons have until 31 March 2023 to complete the RCI. Once completed, any changes to the controlling interests or significant influence need to be registered within 60 days of that change taking place.
After 1 April 2023, it will be a criminal offence if a Recorded Person fails to add or maintain an entry.
Once the RCI is fully in force, it will give us a clear picture of property ownership transparency.
Are there circumstances where the RCI does not need to be completed?
Schedule 2 to the regulations contains a list of exemptions. That is because the information on ultimate ownership is already in the public domain elsewhere. Here are some examples of organisations exempt:
- 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
Is there further information available?
You can find further information on the Registers of Scotland website. You can read the pages dedicated to RCI by clicking here. In addition, the Registers of Scotland hosted a seminar on RCI. A recording of this seminar contains very clear and important information on the RCI. You can view this here:
If you have any questions about the RCI and whether you need to make an entry, please get in touch with us.