Improving transparency of land ownership in Scotland is an issue that is at the very heart of progressing land reform in Scotland. The regulations that we will take forward under section 39 of the Land Reform (Scotland) Act 2016 following this public consultation will help communities, tenants and land owners to know and understand more about the people who control land owners and tenants of land in Scotland, and, ultimately, this will help ensure that all of the people of Scotland can benefit from our land, one of our most vital assets.
This consultation is the next step in our policy development in this complex and technical area. There are policy, practical, and legal issues relating to the transparency of land ownership which will need to be resolved. We want these regulations to result in greater transparency in relation to the individuals who control owners or tenants of land, but we also want to ensure that the requirements that will emerge from these regulations are proportionate and not unduly onerous on those who transact with land in Scotland.
We also want to ensure that our proposals complement recent changes made to company law at Westminster in respect of people with significant control of UK companies. We want our regulations under the Land Reform (Scotland) Act 2016 to deliver transparency about controlling interests in land owners and tenants- and that means that we intend that they will apply to parties from outside the United Kingdom that have controlling interests in land owners and tenants of landholdings in Scotland. In that context, our intention is that our legislation should also complement the UK Government's proposal to create a public register of company beneficial ownership information for foreign companies who already own or wish to buy property in the UK (or wish to bid on UK central government contract).
This consultation will help us to shape the regulations. We are keen to involve all interested parties in our work to ensure we get the details right. We have identified three workstreams, namely:
I. Defining "controlling interest";
II. Practical aspects including scope, where the information should be held, and what information should be disclosed; and
III. The duty to provide the information and sanctions for non-compliance.
I encourage you to get involved in this consultation - please see the information on how to respond at chapter 7.
Email: Stephen Krzyzanowski, LandReform@gov.scot