Communities and individuals across North Ayrshire and Scotland will soon have access to a free public register showing who has a controlling interest in Scotland’s land.
As part of its long running commitment to improve transparency of land ownership, the SNP Government is introducing the Register of Persons Holding a Controlled Interest (RCI) in land on Friday 01 April.
This public register provides key information about those who ultimately make decisions about the management or use of land, even if they are not necessarily registered as the owner, including overseas entities and trusts.
The information will enable individuals and communities to identify and engage with those who make decisions about land that affects them.
Kenneth Gibson MSP said:
“Land ownership can affect entire communities and it is important that decision-making is not obscured, including in or via overseas trusts or entities.
“The launch of this new register and the fact that it is free to access, marks a significant milestone in making land ownership across North Ayrshire and Scotland more transparent. It enables the public to look behind land ownership and identify those who ultimately make decisions.
“This will also make Scotland a frontrunner in Europe and deliver greater transparency than any other part of the UK.
“The SNP Government will also bring forward a new Land Reform Bill over the course of this parliament, to further tackle Scotland’s historically iniquitous patterns of land ownership and use.”
The RCI is a register of persons who own, or are tenants of (under a long lease of more than 20 years), land, including entities with legal personality. Entries flow from the recorded person, who is obliged to disclose persons who have significant influence or control over decisions in relation to land, known as associates.
Penalties for non-compliance will come into force at the end of a 12 month transition period in April 2023.
The SNP Government fully supports any measures to improve transparency of land ownership, including the Register of Overseas Entities (ROE) to be introduced by the UK Government’s Economic Crime Act 2022.
ROE will apply to any legal entity that is governed by the law of a country other than the UK, but which owns land in the UK. Whilst the purpose of the RCI focuses on transparency of land ownership, the ROE aims to combat illegal activities such as money laundering by increasing transparency about the beneficial owners of land.
The register will be accessible via this link as of Friday.