Other registers and searches

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Are there any other registers or sources of information that it is usual to search when buying a property or lending money on mortgage? For example:

• The cadastre
• Business registers
• Insolvency registers
• Registers or information held by municipalities or other local authorities
• Information held by utility providers (water, drainage, sewage, electricity etc)
• Flood risk registers
• Deeds not registered in the land register (how are these discovered?)
• Tax authorities
• Landlord/commonhold association/management company/community of owners (especially in the case of apartments)
• Any others?

State what the buyer or mortgagee would want to discover from these sources.

• Register of Inhibitions and Adjudications

In addition to a search of the property registers the submitting solicitor will request a search of the Register of Inhibitions and Adjudications (similar to an insolvency register). This Register is held by RoS.
An Inhibition is a writ that prohibits a debtor from selling or burdening his or her property and an adjudication is a transfer of property to a creditor in payment of a debt. The purpose of this register is to give notice to the public that the persons inhibited are unable to grant a good title. Anyone purchasing heritable property always insists upon a search in this register to ensure that the seller is not legally prevented from selling.

•    Register of Community Interests in Land (RCIL)

The Register of Community Interests in Land is maintained by RoS. The register allows community bodies to register an interest in land, which enables them to buy the land for the benefit of the local community when it becomes available for purchase. A search in this register may be needed in non-urban transactions.

•    Home Report

All pre-owned houses put on the market for sale must have a home report for inspection by potential buyers. The home report consists of three main elements:

(i) a Single Survey Report. The single survey report contains detailed information about the condition and value of a home along with an accessibility audit. It is undertaken by the seller’s surveyor (who must be registered by the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors).

(ii) an Energy Report. The energy report shows the home’s energy efficiency rating and helps buyers to make new green choices by comparing energy costs between homes. It also provides practical advice on how to reduce carbon emissions and save on energy bills.

(ii) a Property Questionnaire. The property questionnaire is completed by the seller of the home and gives prospective buyers a useful summary of information, including: council tax banding, factoring arrangements, and alterations made to the home. The questionnaire should also alert conveyancers to potential issues at an early stage and may lead to necessary documentation such as building warrants being obtained earlier in the conveyancing process.

•    Property Enquiry Certificates

On the payment of a fee, local authorities will provide a property enquiry certificate. These certificates provide information on matters such as planning applications, building warrants, roads information, statutory notices, water and drainage and contaminated land.

•    Companies Search

If the seller is a company (or a limited liability partnership) a search of the Companies Register, held by Companies House, will be conducted to ensure that the company is incorporated and is not in insolvency. The search will also disclose any floating charges granted by the company or partnership. Although floating charges do not prevent the company from selling they often have a clause preventing the company from selling without the chargeholder’s consent. Further, if the floating charge has «crystallised» (i.e. has become a fixed charge) the company can no longer sell the property free of the charge.

•    Register of Insolvencies

The register of insolvencies is held by the Accountant in Bankruptcy and holds information regarding the insolvency of individuals and businesses in Scotland.

•    Coal Mining Report

A coal mining report can be requested from the local authority in such areas where property has been built close to areas of past mining activity. Some houses may have unknowingly been built over old, disused coal mines and may be liable to movement, subsidence or collapse.

•    Environmental Search

Not a standard requirement. Discloses information regarding site history, potential contamination, stability of land and flood risk. Rarely used.

•    Other searches

Depending on the nature of the property searches may be conducted on i) the Crofting Register (a free to search register of crofts, common grazings and land held runrig (a system of tenure whereby the land was divided into strips and allocated on a rotation system) held by RoS), ii) the SSSI Register (the register of Sites of Special Scientific Interest, held by RoS), iii) Pastmap (the online records of Historic Scotland which can be used to disclose scheduled monuments or listed buildings on the property), iv) Scotways (the National Catalogue of Rights of Way), and v) the Forestry Commission (to determine whether or not the commission has any grant scheme or dedication agreement over the property).


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