Extent of plot

This guidance covers the requirements for defining a plot in applications for registration.

It’s up to you to make sure your application for registration sufficiently identifies your plot’s boundaries so we can delineate it on the cadastral map. If your deed doesn’t sufficiently describe the plot, we’ll reject your application.

For detailed information about mapping your plot, view our deed plan criteria guidance.

View guidance on mapping tenements and flatted buildings.

Extent of plot and the cadastral map

Section 23(1)(c) of the Land Registration etc (Scotland) Act 2012 states that the deed must describe the plot as to enable the Keeper to delineate its boundaries on the cadastral map. This aligns with a key principle of the 2012 Act that there can be no registration without mapping.

As many properties in Scotland have been defined in deeds recorded in the General Register of Sasines, where historically there was no specification regarding the requirements for boundary descriptions or deed plans, the quality of the descriptions and plans annexed to some title deeds may not meet the requirements of the 2012 Act.

The onus is on the applicant to ensure that the deeds that define the extent of the plot they wish to register, sufficiently identify the boundaries to enable the Keeper to accurately delineate the plot on the cadastral map.

The Keeper’s detailed deed plan criteria guide narrates various types of historical and new deed plans that are not suitable for registration purposes, and outlines the requirements for new deed plans. For tenements and other flatted properties, where a verbal description of the subjects is provided this should be sufficiently detailed to enable the precise extent of the tenement steading to be delineated on the cadastral map and location of the flatted property and associated pertinents to be identified in relation to the other properties in the tenement.

Applicants dealing with a flat in a tenement should consider the guidance at tenements and other flatted buildings.

The 2012 Act requires that an application submitted for registration that does not enable the plot of land to be accurately identified and delineated on the cadastral map must be rejected.

The Keeper would expect reasonable attempts to be made to obtain those plans referred to in historic burdens deeds affecting the plot to be registered, prior to the application being submitted for registration. Coloured up versions of copies obtained from National Records of Scotland of (a) duplicate plans to deeds recorded in the sasine register, or (b) deed plans from the Books of Council and Session if the deed was recorded for preservation, must also be provided or the application may be rejected.

It is noted that “plot” includes land which will not only be owned exclusively, but land which is owned by an owner or group of owners in common with others. For example, if a disposition conveys a plot of land to be owned exclusively by the disposition, which can be accurately identified and delineated on the cadastral map, but also conveys a right of ownership in common with others in respect of other land, which cannot be identified and mapped, then the application for registration of that disposition will be rejected.

Applicants should consider the Keeper's guidance at mapping common areas where a common area is inadequately described in a deed recorded or registered prior to 8 December 2014.

Care should be taken where it appears that the extent of the plot intended to be registered comprises a part of the national trunk road network/infrastructure.

For clarification, "trunk road" means a road or proposed road which is a trunk road within the meaning of section 151(1) of the Roads (Scotland) Act 1984.

Current list of Scotland's trunk roads

Trunk roads in Scotland, and their attendant infrastructure, are the responsibility of the Scottish Ministers and are managed and maintained by Transport Scotland on their behalf.

Where it appears that the extent of the plot intended to be registered comprises a part of the national trunk road network/infrastructure, the applicant should check to ensure that their title is indeed habile to include such a part in order to avoid the Keeper erroneously making the register inaccurate.

Boundary references

There are various references, which are currently shown on the title plans of registered titles created under the 1979 Act that will not be referenced on the cadastral map. For example, the title deeds may define the nature of specific boundaries, e.g. the centre line of the wall. The Keeper’s policy under the 2012 Act is not to reference particular boundaries on the cadastral map unless there are specific burdens in relation to that boundary.

Rights in pends and in property above pends

Pend is a Scottish word used to describe an arched, vaulted or covered passage. They are a relatively common architectural feature, often allowing access to the rear of a row of houses by way of a path or passageway that passes under one or more of the houses at ground floor level.

Cadastral units are defined in section 12(1) of the 2012 Act as being a unit which represents a single registered plot of land. Section 12(2) states that the same area of land cannot be represented by more than one cadastral unit - for the same plot of land to be registered in two cadastral units would mean that there was a competition in title to that plot of land.

When applications are submitted for registration that include parts of non-tenement buildings on particular floor levels only, these will be mapped to form part of the cadastral unit for the title being registered. This, at first glance, may appear to contravene section 12(2), because the same area of the cadastral map may look like it is in two (or more) cadastral units. However, by reference to the legend on the cadastral map and the title sheet, it will be clear that there is no competition in title as each cadastral unit will include the plot at a particular floor level only.

From a registration point of view, a historically inconsistent approach to the conveyancing of rights in pends, and in the property above them, has often resulted in corrective conveyancing being required.

A typical scenario involves where title to a house has previously been conveyed, but the split-off deed has failed to expressly convey that part of that house which lies above a pend notwithstanding that that house has been conveyed a right in common to that pend (or a right in common to the solum of that pend).

The problems caused by inconsistent conveyancing in such a scenario can be many and varied meaning that understanding the underlying legal position can be difficult.

The Keeper's settled approach in such a scenario is that, in order to avoid future problems, where an exclusive part of a house lies above a pend, that part must be expressly conveyed in the split-off deed for that house, utilising a deed plan description where a satisfactory bounding description is not possible.

In particular, the Keeper considers that the general rule that an owner of the surface owns a coelo usque ad centrum - from the heavens to the centre of the earth - has no direct applicability to pends.

Rather, the Keeper considers that, where a right in common to a pend has been conveyed, the reference to "pend" acts as a qualification to what is being conveyed so that the established principal of a coelo usque ad centrum is interrupted.

The effect is therefore to exclude from the conveyance the strata of property outwith the airspace of the pend i.e. the building or part of the building (such as a bedroom) above it.

Therefore, in the common scenario where a split-off deed for a house has failed to expressly convey that part of that house which lies above a pend, then, notwithstanding that the house has been conveyed a right in common to that pend (or a right in common to the solum of that pend), the Keeper's position is that the strata of property out with the airspace of the pend would continue to belong to the granter of the split-off deed or their successors. Accordingly, corrective conveyancing involving that granter or their successors would be required to resolve the issue.

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