Many landowners who have considered selling land for development will be aware of ransom strips but any considering the voluntary registration of their land in the Land Register of Scotland should also ensure that they do not leave “gaps” which could result in future ransom strips being created.
Often small, a ransom strip is a piece of ground, which separates a piece of ground from a public or access road and where the ownership of which could be cast in doubt or may be claimed by a third party.
What should you do to ensure that a “ransom strip” is not left or created?
The Land Register of Scotland is a map-based register different from the original Sasine Register in which recorded titles may contain vague and often historic descriptions and sometimes poor or non-existent plans. Arguably in the Sasine Register it was easier to argue that a vague title description or poor quality plan included a small sliver of ground and thus no ransom strip existed.
Resolve issues. By registering their title Landowners can clarify the extent of their ownership and land boundaries and may be able to obtain a land registered title to areas which, if not registered, could potentially be deemed to be ransom strips. It also gives landowners a chance to establish and resolve any potential boundary ambiguities and thus reducing the risk of creating future ransom strips.
Do not just register to the boundary feature. If the occupation and ownership has been understood to include a verge area out with a fenced boundary, include this area in the voluntary registration application. Often the intention in older deeds was to include land right up to the edge of any bounding public / private road, or indeed to the midline of the road; this should not be overlooked when applying for voluntary registration.
Speak with the Council / Roads Authority – when reviewing land ownership for voluntary registration the local council, or roads authority (in respect of trunk roads) can provide a plan showing the extent of any adopted roads adjacent to the property and this you can ensure that no gaps or ransom strips are left.
Affidavits – if during the process of a voluntary registration it becomes clear that the titles contain a potential “ransom strip” over which access has been taken steps can be taken to ensure at that stage to try to rectify the issue.
Ransom strips cannot always be avoided but speak to one of our Voluntary Registration and we may be able to iron out issues for you at the application stage.
If you have any queries please do get in touch with our specialist Land & Rural Business team.