The Registers of Scotland have announced that as of Monday 27 April 2020 the new digital submission service will be available.
What does this mean?
Whilst the Government advice still remains that, where possible, property transactions should be delayed or postponed at present it has been recognised that this will not be possible in all transactions. The opening of the digital submission service will allow the registration of deeds online in situations where the transaction cannot be delayed or postponed and with a view to assisting the Scottish property market as best it can.
It is important that The Health Protection (Coronavirus) (Restrictions) (Scotland) Regulations 2020 and the Scottish Government Guidelines are also observed when considering whether or not to settle a transaction and consideration given to all the aspects of a conveyancing transaction both legally and practically.
It should be noted, however, that the application record is not back to “business as usual” and not all applications will meet the registration criteria. It is also important to note that not all applications for registration will be permitted to be submitted on the 27th April 2020.
Registration will be based upon the date that the Advance notice was registered and registration will be permitted when the Registers confirm the date of the advance notice that they are accepting deeds in relation to. An advance notice being a notice that is registered in the Land Register of Scotland or recorded in the General Register of Sasines prior to the completion of a conveyancing transaction and is essentially a formal notification that there will be a deed (such as a disposition and/or standard security) to follow.
The Registers have advised that the digital application process will be staggered with first intake for applications being up to the 19 February 2020 and only those that correspond with the relevant advance notice up to and including that date with the date being moved forward on a rolling basis. The reason for this staggered process is to avoid an influx of applications and to assist the Registers in their processes. This means that if you purchased a property on or before this date then as of 27 April 2020 the deed transferring ownership to the purchaser will be able to be registered using the new digital system. The Registers of Scotland will advise via their website as each intake date rolls forward.
Once registered or recorded the advance notice provides protection (known as the protected period) to a purchaser and/or a lender in relation to the deed referred to in the advance notice against (i) an inhibition registered against the granter of the deed in the Register of Inhibitions; and (ii) a competing deed granted by the granter to a third party being registered first. The protected period was 35 days beginning the day after the advance notice is entered onto the register. This period has now been extended in line with the Coronavirus (Scotland) Act 2020 and the end of the protected period will now be the later of (a) the date occurring 10 days after the Registers of Scotland are fully open and operational again, or (b) the end of the 35 day period.
The Registers have advised that the registration process will remain the same as it was prior to the closing of the Registers, however, it is likely to take longer to issue an acknowledgement to the submitting agent. It will also be essential that the principal deed is retained by the submitting agent.
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