National law firm Shoosmiths has been selected by the Scottish Fire and Rescue Service (SFRS) to report on and register all of their landholdings, following a tender process.
The firm will be required to process around 400 titles for the SFRS as a result of statutory obligation imposed by the Scottish government, agreed with the Keeper of the Registers of Scotland, to perfect title to properties held by governmental organisations by 2019.
The underlying legislation is the Land Registration, etc (Scotland) Act 2012. The legislation aims to address the lack of ownership information for many areas in Scotland. At present only 58% of properties are registered in Scotland, covering just 26% of the Scottish land mass.
Steve Dougherty, real estate partner at Shoosmiths in Edinburgh, said: 'We are very pleased to have been selected to register all of the SFRS's land in Scotland's cities, towns and small communities. We are working hard on the project and are enjoying a close working relationship with SFRS.
He added: 'Shoosmiths is very much going from strength to strength in Scotland since we opened our office in Edinburgh a little over two years' ago. We have a full service Real Estate offering and our ability to attract SFRS and similar clients underpins our exceptional expertise in this sector.'
Alex Lane, head of property and facilities services at SFRS said: 'We were impressed with Shoosmiths' proposal and their track record of client service combined with their real estate expertise. This is not a small job, so we wanted to ensure we had advisers with lots of experience in this area. We trust Steve and his team to do a great job for us as we seek to comply with the new legislation.'
According to Registers of Scotland, the improved Land Register will also provide other benefits. These benefits include the ability to view property boundaries, which are clearly recorded and shown on the Ordinance Survey map; all restrictions, burdens and securities set out in one place; and a faster, easier and less expensive way to transact with property.
Shoosmiths' real estate group is one of the largest in the UK, spread over eight offices from Scotland to the south coast of England. The group is made up of teams advising on real estate, construction, planning, property litigation, and environmental law.
Shoosmiths' clients include commercial and residential developers, investors, retail and leisure operators, social housing bodies, major corporate occupiers, banks and other funders and a range of public sector bodies.