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Publication - Consultation Paper

Improving transparency in land ownership in Scotland: a consultation on controlling interests in land

Published: 11 Sep 2016
Part of:
Environment and climate change
ISBN:
9781786523655

Consultation on proposals for the disclosure and publication of information about controlling interests in land owners and tenants.

57 page PDF

1.1MB

57 page PDF

1.1MB

Contents
Improving transparency in land ownership in Scotland: a consultation on controlling interests in land
Chapter 4: Where the information should be held and what information should be disclosed

57 page PDF

1.1MB

Chapter 4: Where the information should be held and what information should be disclosed

Where the information should be held

1. The Land Reform (Scotland) Act 2016 provides that the information is to be published in a public register maintained by the Keeper. The main options are to publish the information as part of the existing Land Register or to hold the information as a free-standing public register.

2. A key factor in determining the most practical and cost effective option is that the Land Register currently discloses information on the legal titles for properties that cover approximately 29% of the land mass of Scotland. The remaining legal titles are recorded in the Register of Sasines or not recorded or registered at all, as we have set out in chapter 1.

3. We also stated in chapter 1 that Registers of Scotland are currently working to complete the Land Register by 2024. By that date the legal titles for all properties in Scotland should be registered in the Land Register. In providing for the disclosure of information on a controlling interest in a land owner or tenant we have to consider what the best solution would be to achieve the maximum level of transparency and ensure information about controlling interests can be obtained for legal titles that may not be in the Land Register before 2024.

4. Another factor to consider is the scope of these regulations. As we have stated in chapter 3, we are considering whether regulations should apply where a person with a controlling interest in a land owner or tenant and that land owner or tenant has done any of the following:

I. acquired the property prior to the Register of Sasines commencing in 1617;

II. acquired a personal right to property but have not yet registered the deed in their favour in the Land Register; or

III. entered into a high value lease that is not a long lease (i.e. a lease which is 20 years or less).

Should the assessment of responses to these questions in the consultation suggest that the regulations should apply in each of these circumstances, then it might be the case that adding the information acquired under these regulations to the Register of Sasines or Land Register will not be sufficient.

5. At this stage, to ensure that information about persons with controlling interests in land owners and tenants is readily accessible and available, the Scottish Government considers that a new register will need to be created.

QUESTION 11: In your opinion, should a new register of persons with controlling interests in land owners and tenants be created? YES/NO

QUESTION 12: What would the advantages be?

QUESTION 13: What would the disadvantages be?

The information to be disclosed

6. The Scottish Government intends that the name of any person having a controlling interest in a land owner or tenant should be disclosed. However, disclosure of the name of a person alone may not be sufficient to enable a community body or other interested party to identify "a person with a controlling interest in a land owner or tenant" and this chapter explores the options to ensure that persons with controlling interests in land owners or tenants can be identified.

7. Personal details could include a person's postal address, service address (for serving documents), email address or contact telephone number. There are several issues to consider when disclosing personal information of any sort, for instance whether disclosure is permissible under data protection legislation, or whether it would be more proportionate for certain details to be made available only on application in certain circumstances.

8. It is useful to consider what information must be kept in the PSC Register held by UK companies that need to disclose details about people with significant control. This information includes [20] :-

  • Name
  • Date of birth
  • Nationality
  • Country, state or part of UK where the PSC lives
  • Service address
  • Usual residential address
  • The date he or she became a PSC in relation to the Company
  • Which of the conditions they meet for being a PSC
  • Whether an application has been made for the individual's information to be protected from disclosure

However, when a company submits its PSC register to Companies House, or is required to disclose the details set out above the usual residential address should not be disclosed.

9. Another key consideration is how to keep the information on the register up to date. Under PSC legislation, the information must be kept up to date. Given that, in the Scottish context, the purpose of making information about persons with controlling interests in land owners and tenants available is to enable people and communities to engage more effectively with those who are making decisions about land, and to ensure maximum transparency in terms of the information that is to be made available, we consider that there should be a duty to keep the relevant information up to date.

10. For the purposes of our regulations we also invite views as to whether information about the extent of the controlling interest is necessary. For example, if it is determined that a person has a controlling interest in a land owner or tenant because they hold a certain percentage of the shares in a company it may be considered appropriate to disclose percentage shareholding in the register. Alternatively, it may be considered that the percentage shareholding is not relevant, and all that is needed is knowledge that person is a person with a controlling interest in a land owner or tenant.

11. The Scottish Government acknowledges that there may be commercial sensitivities relating to this information and invites views as to whether information about the nature and extent of the controlling interest should be required; whether it should be disclosed or not; and whether holding information about the nature and extent of the controlling interest would assist in improving transparency of land ownership for the purposes of the regulations.

QUESTION 14: In your view, in addition to the names of "persons with controlling interests in land owners and tenants" should other information about them be disclosed? YES/NO.

QUESTION 15: If YES, how would disclosure of that information fulfil the regulations' aim(s) (as per chapter 1 and your answer to question 1)?

QUESTION 16: If NO, why not?

QUESTION 17: In your view, should information about the nature and extent of a person's "controlling interest" be disclosed? YES/NO.

QUESTION 18: In your view, should the nature and extent of a person's "controlling interest" be disclosed on a public register? YES/NO. Please give details.

QUESTION 19: If YES, how would this information fulfil the purpose of the regulations' aim(s)?

QUESTION 20: If NO - why not? Please give details.

QUESTION 21: Thinking about the information which in your view should be disclosed, are you aware of any potential sensitivities relating to this? YES/NO. Please give details.

QUESTION 22: If YES - in your view what are the advantages of keeping this information up to date?

QUESTION 23: If NO - why not? Please give details.

QUESTION 24: In your view, are there instances in which the information about the nature and extent of a person's "controlling interest" is commercially sensitive and should not be revealed? YES/NO.

QUESTION 25: If YES, please explain why you think that this information should not be revealed?

QUESTION 26: If NO - why not? Please give details.


Contact

Email: Stephen Krzyzanowski, LandReform@gov.scot