Site Assembly is a difficult area for many solicitors, since they are not trained cartographers. We can offer assistance in fitting together titles and searching to identify the titles to any gaps or ransom strips.
Fitting the titles together
This type of problem is mostly associated with business premises, which may have been bought piecemeal over many years. Your clients may have presented you with a box full of their titles and you don't know where to start. A good beginning is to find out from the clients what they think they own on the ground and to put this on to a modern map. It's then a case of picking the easiest title to plot and trying to fit all the others around it, but this is sometimes easier said than done, especially when some of the titles have no plans attached.
Ann Farmer has considerable experience in assembling this kind of jigsaw and relishes the challenge. Some of the deeds may have bounding descriptions based on the names of the previous owners of adjoining properties, so searching against these properties may provide vital clues, which is why a searcher can often tackle this type of problem more easily than a solicitor sitting with only the deeds.
Vital tools in site assembly, as in other property ownership enquiries, are scale rules in both imperial and metric measures, along with an accurate scaled map from Ordnance Survey, usually at a scale of 1:1250 or 1:2500 depending on the size of the site. These can be purchased from Ordnance Survey Options Outlets (find your nearest outlet here) by you or by us. The results of the site assembly will usually be presented to you by colouring the modern plan to reflect the various titles involved.
Sometimes, if the site has changed over the years, it may be easier to plot the titles on to a copy of an historical Ordnance Survey Map, which we can obtain from the National Library of Scotlandís Map Library. Maps more than 50 years old can be easily obtained and we have a superseded map licence from Ordnance Survey that allows us to obtain copies of maps still in copyright. This can make it easier to show that there are no gaps. We can also check all the titles to date for you and report on any alienations or outstanding securities.
Gaps and Ransom Strips
Sometimes when titles are plotted there can be large or small gaps either in the centre of the site or between the edge of the site and the nearby access road. This can be caused by a deed missing from the box of titles, in which case we can search to find it, or could be caused by some defect in the plans or conveyancing in the past.
On some occasions, the plan is at variance with the description in the deed, in which case the verbal description usually takes precedence. Landownership Scotland can search to find titles to missing parts of the jigsaw or to ransom strips that may cause future problems.