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HMRC internal manual

Debt Management and Banking Manual

HM Revenue & Customs
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Ordinary Cause: What is an inhibition

Inhibition is a form of diligence used against a debtor who owns or jointly owns heritable property. It effectively prevents the debtor from

  • using the property as a security for a debt or
  • disposing of it or his interest in it.

Inhibition is recorded against a named person (or persons) or a company. It affects all properties owned by that individual regardless of whether you are aware of the ownership of all properties or not.

Where a property is jointly owned, an inhibition against one person will affect only hisor her share of that property.

Inhibition does not entitle the inhibitor to the transfer of the debtor’s property nor does it entitle the inhibitor to any preference such as is/was gained by a creditor holding a security over a property. What it does do however is to hamper the debtor from selling or securing a property because on attempting to do so, the purchaser/lender will carry out a search of the Register of Inhibitions. This will reveal that the owner/purchaser is inhibited and so is unable to offer a clear title to the property. The purchaser/lender is unlikely to proceed with the sale or the securing of the property until the inhibition is discharged. If exceptionally the purchaser/lender does decide to proceed with the sale or the securing of the property then it is at his own risk because he would not be able to obtain clear title to the property.