As a legal translator, I think of any personal situation I encounter in the UK as a learning opportunity. Relocating from Oxford to Edinburgh as a second-time buyer has been nothing short of stressful, but moving to a different jurisdiction is helping me get acquainted with the Scottish legal system and how differently many things work up here.
During the home buying process I came across a number of Scottish conveyancing terms and expressions new to me. In this article I am sharing a selection of ten.
Disposition: a formal document made and signed by the seller transferring ownership of their property to the buyer. Although the disposition itself effects the transfer, it needs to be registered in the Land Register of Scotland. It includes information such as the property details, the price or consideration and the date of entry.
Feuduty: an annual rent paid by the tenant of a feu, which was a common feudal land tenure in Scotland. Feu was abolished by the Abolition of Feudal Tenure etc. (Scotland) Act 2000 and is not payable nowadays, but it may still appear in Georgian and Victorian deeds.
Home Report: a document provided by the seller, which includes all the information about the property that the potential buyer needs to know. It comprises three different sections – a single survey and valuation, a property questionnaire and an energy report. Irrespective of the asking price, the property value mentioned in the report serves as an indication of the minimum offer the buyer is expected to make (the buyer is usually expected to offer 8-10% over the Home Report value). In England, it is the buyer who must request and pay for a Homebuyer or Survey.
Instrument of sasines: a deed recording the transfer of ownership of a land or a building. In 1617 the General Register of Sasines was created and all instruments of sasines had to be registered. Since 1981, this has gradually been replaced by the system of registration of titles in the Land Register of Scotland.
Land and Buildings Transaction Tax (LBTT): a tax paid by a property buyer to Revenue Scotland on the purchase of a building or land. The equivalent tax in England is the Stamp Duty Land Tax (SDLT).
Love Favour and Affection: an expression used to refer to a transfer of property made not for a monetary consideration, but as a gift. Transfers of property made for love favour and affection are exempt of LBTT, as there is no monetary consideration.
Missives: a collection of letters exchanged between the buyer’s solicitor and the seller’s solicitors, which together form a binding legal contract. They include the formal offer, the qualified acceptance to the offer and any other formal letters exchanged, including the final letter concluding the process called ‘concluding missive’. These letters are not signed by the buyer and the seller, but by their solicitors.
Note of interest: a notification by a potential buyer to the estate agent of their interest in buying a property. By formally notifying their interest, the buyer ensures that the property is not sold without having the chance to make an offer. Typically, the seller waits until receiving a few notes of interest before setting a closing date for all interest buyers to make their offer.
Settlement: the completion of the transaction. The sale is settled, once the price has been paid to the seller, the conveyancing documents have been delivered and the keys have been released for the buyer to collect. The English equivalent is ‘completion’.
Survivorship clause (or ‘survivorship destination’): a legal clause included in the title deed of a jointly-owned property, so that, if one owner dies, their share in the property can pass automatically to the other owner. This clause operates irrespective of their wills and cannot be revoked unilaterally.
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IRENE CORCHADO RESMELLA is a Spanish translator based in Edinburgh. A Chartered Linguist and member of the CIOL, she is also an English-Spanish sworn translator appointed by the Spanish Ministry of Foreign Affairs. Irene specialises in sworn and legal translation (particularly in wills and succession) and is an Affiliate member of STEP. ICR Translations is registered with the Information Commissioner's Office and has professional indemnity insurance.