Register of Persons Holding a Controlled Interest in Land (RCI)

The Scottish Government’s deadline to register a “Person with controlling interests” is 1st April 2024. The RCI was developed by the Scottish Government to increase the transparency when it comes to identifying who owns and controls land in Scotland. In many cases, the person(s) named on the lease or title deeds may not be the person(s) running and controlling the business. The RCI will contain details of (1) the owner or tenant, (2) the property concerned and (3) any persons who make decisions / control that property. Given the looming deadline, which has recently been advertised in many agricultural and forestry publications (as well as the penalty of up to £5000 if you fail to register), we thought it would be helpful to detail the key facts in order for you to decide if you need to register. For the avoidance of doubt, not all persons will need to register. To find out more about what the RCI is and who needs to register please see below.

Do I Need to Register in the RCI?

The rules that govern the RCI are set out in The Land Reform (Scotland) Act 2016 (Register of Persons Holding a Controlled Interest in Land) Regulations 2021. In many cases land owners or tenants of Scottish land will be (i) the person named on the title deeds or lease and (ii) who makes decisions about the running of that property. In these circumstances, no entry will be required in the RCI.

If there is any other persons who exercise significant influence or control on behalf of the registered land owner or tenant (known as an associate), the land owner / tenant (known as the recorded person) must provide information about this on the RCI. The recorded person is also under a duty to notify any associates of the intention to include information about them on the register. BBM Solicitors can assist with registration.

Associates Definitions

  • Persons who have certain contractual or other arrangements with an individual who owns or tenants land;
  • Partnerships and persons who own or tenant land on their behalf;
  • Persons responsible for the general control and management of the administration of an unincorporated body of persons who own or tenant land on their behalf;
  • Trusts and persons who own or tenant land as trustees of a trust;
  • Overseas entities.

Recorded Persons Definitions

  • All persons who are the registered owner of land;
  • Tenants with long leases registered in ROS;
  • All persons who by position of office will be considered a “recorded person”. This is where land is held by a trust in the name of the trust and not by individual office bearers. All trustees will be considered recorded persons.

Examples of controlling interest:

  • A partnership owns land in the name of two original partners, two further partners join the partnership and have equal voting rights on how the land is used. They are not registered on the title and not named on the title deeds so will be considered associates (and would need to be added to the RCI register).
  • Land is owned by a trust for the benefit of a group and it is held in the personal name of individuals or in individual names as office bearers for the trust. All other trustees not named within the title deed will then be considered associates (and would need to be added to the RCI register).
  • Land is owned by a trust for the benefit of a group and it is held in the personal name of individuals or in individual names as office bearers for the trust and this list is now out of date.

Exemptions from Registering with th RCI:

  • When the recorded persons are the only persons with control over the land. For example, all land held by a Ltd is registered in the Company’s name and the PSC register is up the date. In regards to a partnership, where the title states the names of the individuals in the partnership, there is no need to register with the RCI.

Farming Partnerships

Individuals in traditional farming partnerships will not require to register if all the Partners are named on the title deeds of the land owned. You will need to register where there is another individual or entity, which has significant influence or control over the land, any of the partners named on the title, or the partnership itself. The most common situation affecting farming partnerships is likely to be where family members have joined the partnership but the title for the land is still in a other family members name. For example where a father and mother own the land but their child(ren) now run the farm along side or even for them and may even have joined the partnership. In this situation, each of the current partners who are named on the title will have to register as Recorded Persons, and each of them must register the newer partners as an Associate. You can do this by going to https://rci.ros.gov.uk and clicking “create an entry”.

If you do have any questions or require any assistance please contact legal director Joanna Morris at jwhm@bbmsolicitors.co.uk

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