Tuesday, 29 July 2014

Completion of the Land Register in Scotland

Scottish Ministers have asked Registers of Scotland to complete the Land Register in 10 years, and have committed to registering all public land within 5 years. This follows on from the Land Registration (Scotland) Act 2012. 

Completing the Land Register will be a major undertaking and will require collaboration across the private, public and charitable sectors. A public consultation is now underway which will be completed later this year. See:


In order to complete the Land Register, additional levers for registration are likely to be required on top of voluntary registration and “Keeper-induced” registration under the 2012 Act. A fully transparent Land Register is a laudable goal and, although there will likely be challenges along the way of achieving it, Scottish Ministers are to be congratulated for giving this priority. There can be no doubt that this will have economic as well as social and legal benefits for citizens and should fit well with the Government’s aim of ensuring that Scotland is a modern e-enabled country which can demonstrate that is a good place for businesses to be located. 

Monday, 28 July 2014

A blog about the Norwegian Land and Information System

INFOLAND - simplifying the Norwegian property market

Norway has a population of five million people, with approximately 2.2 million homes and an average of two people per household. Approximately 150 000 property transactions are conducted each year. With Norway being the longest country in Europe, sparsely populated within an area of 324,220 sq km and almost one third of the land mass situated above the arctic circle, one might be led to believe that property transactions are slow and inefficient.

Norway’s property market has been more or less booming throughout the recent recession, much due to the fact that Norway’s banks reduced their interest rates on loans and mortgages in order to meet the changes to import and export markets hit by the economic downturn. This has supported a healthy economy and the average Norwegian suffered little or nothing financially, during the crisis. 

Two major players in the Norway’s property market

The property market has two major players: The real estate agent representing the seller and the bank providing the mortgage for the buyer. The various banking institutions in Norway own most of the real estate chains. In order to qualify as a real estate agency, education in business and property law is required. As the seller is represented by the real estate agent and no representation is required for the buyer, legislation demands that the real estate broker provide all information about a property to the prospective buyer before selling. This information is mainly collected from the local municipalities’ land and zoning departments, the land registry and the mapping authority. 

This could be a painstaking ordeal, but the real estate agent provides this information to the buyers through the land information portal, www.Infoland.no. This is a one-stop-shop for all information required by law in addition to other information of relevance concerning the property in question such as environmental issues, large-scale maps and much more. The largest provider of information is the local authority and the largest sector searching for information is the real estate agent, but surveyors, construction companies, architects and the private citizen also use the portal. Instead of time-consuming phone contacts or meetings, all information is searched, selected, and paid for online. The required information is usually made available within hours instead of weeks. 

High efficiency gains and quality service

Naturally, the efficiency gains are considerable. The local authorities save time and effort by handling all inquiries through one platform, and the estate agent can search for land information any time of the day or night. Infoland consists of a collection of suppliers, such as the municipalities and the land registry and the mapping authority, etc. Each supplier can follow the status of the orders through their own administration sites. Each supplier invoices Infoland on a monthly basis for the transactions that have been provided. Regular visitors to the portal can subscribe and be invoiced monthly for their transactions, whereas non-subscribers pay by credit card. 

To ensure the optimum quality of service, the supplier provides the information within the agreed upon period. Should the supplier not provide the information with the time limit, they receive no remuneration for their efforts. In this way, a true cooperation between the portal and all its suppliers is ensured.

No need to be digital to be a supplier of INFOLAND

The supplier can develop his digital portfolio as he goes and does not need to be digital to join the service. Using Infoland, the supplier responds to the orders either by providing instant pdfs or by finding paper files and posting them through the mail.

Solutions that simplify the market and make doing business quick and efficient are what spurs on a healthy economy, ranking Norway among the top 10 in the World Bank’s Doing Business Survey when registering properties. 

INFOLAND is provided by Norsk Eiendomsinformasjon AS, Norwegian Land Information, a limited company, established in 1987 belonging to the Ministry of Trade, Industry and Fisheries. The company provides the market with the digital land registry, digital document flow and conveyancing as well as other solutions that simplify the Norwegian property market. The article’s author, Trude B-J Margel, heads up the Global Enterprise Division and can be reached at: tbm@eiendomsinfo.no.

Friday, 11 July 2014

What is the Law in your Life?

5 things you need to know about the obligation for repairs under a Lease:

1.     The common law provides that a tenant repairs and maintains the interior of the leased subjects and the landlord is obliged to maintain the exterior including the roof. The common law rarely applies and is usually expressly overridden. Sometimes this is not done properly however.

2.     A repairing obligation in a lease will be interpreted strictly according to its terms so if the obligation is to include renewal and rebuilding, this should be stated expressly.

3.     The repairs clause must be read in conjunction with the insurance clause in the lease.

4.     Tenants should be advised to instruct a survey of the leased subjects before accepting a full repairing and rebuilding obligation. If there are defects, these should either be made good by the landlord prior to the grant of lease or else and exception made from the tenant's repairing obligation.

5.     An exception may be made by way if reference to an attached photographic schedule of condition evidencing the state of repair of the leased subjects.