Register of Beneficial Ownership of UK Land and Property - Stuart Foster

Stuart Foster

The UK government recently closed a consultation during which it took views as to how a new public register of the beneficial ownership of UK land and real estate property may be introduced. This new register of property ownership, that is expected to include all overseas companies, has been proposed for some time now and it seems only a matter of time before it is brought into force. The question for us to consider is how the introduction of such a register will affect clients of Peregrine.

It is proposed that the new register will be managed by Companies House in the UK who have recently introduced a similar register for Persons with Significant Control (“PSC”) in Companies incorporated in the UK. 

How to identify those to be disclosed and the detail required about beneficial owners of property are expected to follow very similar rules to those imposed by Companies House in respect of the PSC Register for companies – a summary of how to identify a PSC is provided below:


An individual who holds more than 25% of shares in the company;


An individual who holds more than 25% of voting rights in the company;


An individual who holds the right to appoint or remove the majority of the board of directors of the company;


An individual who has the right to exercise, or actually exercises, significant influence or control over the company;


Where a trust or firm would satisfy one of the first four conditions if it were an individual. Any individual holding the right to exercise, or actually exercising, significant influence or control over the activities of that trust or firm.

The personal information to be disclosed and available publicly is expected to include name, nationality, country of residence, service address and details as to how they control the property-owning entity.

As this legislation is likely to affect all overseas entities that own UK property, it will have an impact on Isle of Man companies administered by Peregrine that have invested in UK property. Beneficial owners, or more accurately, PSC’s of UK property holding entities registered in the Isle of Man should be aware that their personal information and their links to UK property may become public knowledge.

The UK Government believes this will provide greater transparency (a commonly used word in recent legislative changes affecting overseas territories and crown dependencies!), clearer information about landlords for tenants, greater efficiency in the property market as owners of vacant properties will be easier to identify, and owners of neighbouring properties will know who is responsible for works affecting them. 

The opposite side of the ‘transparency coin’ is that for all the apparent benefits of making this information public, there are issues of privacy and commerciality that may be far from beneficial for those investors named publicly by these new proposals.  

The loss of confidentiality proposed by this legislation together with the introduction of Inheritance Tax to residential property and the proposed extension of Capital Gains Tax to commercial property (announced in the recent budget) gives the impression that the UK Government has great confidence that its property market is sufficiently resilient to cope with ever increasing regulatory and taxation burdens. For the sake of investors, it must be hoped that they are right.

Peregrine Corporate Services Limited is licensed by the Isle of Man Financial Services Authority.