Register of persons holding a controlled interest in land

The Register of Person Holding a Controlled Interest in Land (RCI) is a new register which launched on 1 April 2022. The RCI exists to improve transparency about those who ultimately make decisions about the management or use of land, even if they are not necessarily registered as the owner.

The Land Reform (Scotland) Act 2016 requires Scottish Ministers to make regulations for a new public register of controlling interests in land owners and tenants. The regulations were unanimously passed by the Scottish Parliament on 10 February 2021, marking a significant step towards delivering greater transparency. The register went live on 1 April 2022 and is maintained by the Keeper of the Registers of Scotland. The RCI is a register of individuals, not a register of land. It is free to search the RCI.

The RCI transitional period ends on 31 March 2024, with offence provisions for non-compliance coming into force on 1 April 2024.

Who needs to register

Registered owners of land or property in Scotland, or registered tenants with a lease of more than 20 years, where someone else is able to exert significant influence or control over them in relation to that land or property, may need to register. The legislation refers to this as having a controlling interest in that land or property.

Check if you are legally required to submit to the register before the deadline of 1 April 2024, after which point you could risk being fined up to £5,000.

The RCI will show information about those who have influence or control over the person listed as the owner or tenant of the land. This will be based on the existence of one of the following types of association:

  • individuals with a contract or other arrangement
  • a partnership
  • a trust
  • an unincorporated association
  • an overseas legal entity

The legislation sets out what constitutes a controlling interest in different scenarios, but broadly speaking it captures someone who is not noted on the registered land title or lease (in the Land Register of Register of Sasines), and who is able to exert significant influence or control over the registered owner. For example, where title to land is held in the name of a trust, but the current trustees, or any one of them, are not shown in the title deeds.

The regulations are not intended to capture those who own their own home, where there is no one who has significant influence or control over them.

Certain bodies subject to other transparency regimes are exempt from the requirement to register – Registers of Scotland guidance contains further information.

If the requirement to register applies, failure to register could result in a fine of up to £5,000.

Find out more

The Registers of Scotland website contains further information and guidance on the RCI, including –

  • RCI beginners guide webinar
  • Support tool to help people identify if they are likely to have to register on RCI.
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