In some parts of Scotland, ‘keep the heid’ refers to staying calm and refraining from upset. Tomorrow the people of Scotland make one of the most monumental decisions their country has ever faced. And if they do vote Yes, will the implications for real estate be equally monumental?
Scotland joined the Union back in 1707. When it joined, it kept its own established legal system. To this day Scotland retains a separate legal system distinct from that of England and Wales. The conclusion of missives and full warrandice are terms you’ll find in no English property law textbook. Irritancy is more likely to represent what you might feel if the referendum didn’t go your way rather than the forfeiture of a lease. Scotland even has its own land registry – the Registers of Scotland. Owners of property in Scotland are therefore not overly concerned about the fact that an independent Scotland will create its own new laws – after all, Scotland already does this for real estate.
Indeed, advice on real estate law in Scotland will always be sought from a Scottish lawyer rather than dealt with by English lawyers. In an independent Scotland this would not change. The laws of an independent Scotland are likely to evolve over time, but as real estate is already governed by a separate system, the impact felt by non-Scottish owners of Scottish property is likely to be limited.
Far greater impact will be made by the regulatory and practical changes needed to sever the two countries. The effect on real estate will be felt in the aftermath of that severance when new laws are introduced for self-regulation. Already, areas which might impact on real estate such as taxation, planning, enforcement of disputes and statutory regulation of leases have begun to evolve. That evolution will inevitably hasten if devolution occurs.
For now, with a separate legal system already in place and neither the SNP nor the Unionists featuring land law reform highly in their referendum campaigns, you can keep the heid and stay focused – at least from a real estate perspective.