11 October 2021 marks the date of two significant changes to the land title system in NSW:
- Certificates of Title will cease to be legal documents. The Registrar General will no longer issue Certificates of Title and they will no longer be used when dealing with land in NSW; and
- Paper dealings will no longer be accepted at NSW Land Registry Services (LRS) and all conveyancing will be done electronically.
Certificates of Title
Without Certificates of Title how will I prove that I own the land?
The NSW Government uses the Torrens Title Register as the sole source of truth to establish a person’s interest in land.
Registration of an interest in land on the Torrens Title Register is the only source of title or ownership.
After 11 October 2021 when you deal with your land your solicitor, conveyancer or bank is required to verify your right to deal with it. This will include verifying your identity and your interest in the land. This may take different forms depending on the type of land you own or occupy, your identity papers that are available, and how long you have been personally known to your solicitor, conveyancer or bank.
Why abolish Certificates of Title?
Under the old system of paper-based transactions, Certificates of Title were useful as a safeguard to reduce fraud and prove ownership. With the changes coming into effect on the 11 October 2021, paper Certificates of Title will be redundant in a paperless system.
How will this impact landowners?
The abolition of Certificates of Title will have no impact on a landowner’s interest in their land. Their interest is recorded on and guaranteed by the Torrens Title Register.
However, Certificates of Title will no longer be issued to owners who pay off their existing mortgage or buy a new property without a mortgage. Certificates of Title will also not be issued for new parcels of land created through the registration of a plan of subdivision, such a new strata scheme.
Instead, LRS will issue Information Notices after the completion of a land transaction confirming that the relevant dealing was registered, and recording the dealing number and the date of registration.
What should I do with my Certificates of Title after 11 October 2021?
Landowners who currently hold their Certificates of Title will not need to take any action now or after 11 October 2021. They can simply hold on to them, destroy them, or frame them if they wish, as the Certificates of Title will no longer be a legal document.
Law firms often hold Certificates of Title on behalf of their clients. If you know that Pigott Stinson holds a Certificate of Title on your behalf, please get in contact with us and let us know whether you like us to keep holding it, destroy it or arrange to send it back to you.
Since 2017, the NSW Government has progressively brought in electronic conveyancing for certain classes of dealings. Paper dealings will end after 11 October 2021.
What does this mean for landowners, lessees and other people dealing in land?
After 11 October 2021, landowners and others dealing in land transactions will need to go through a Subscriber (such as a solicitor, conveyancer or a bank) to prepare and lodge eConveyancing dealings on their behalf.
Subscribers are required to adhere to strict compliance requirements, such as verifying the identity of their clients, establishing their client’s right to deal with the land in question, and ensuring that they have obtained proper authorisation from the client to carry out the work on their behalf.
Will any transactions be excluded from the eConveyancing regime?
A very small number of transactions are currently unable to be carried out electronically as a result of technical limitations. These “out-of-scope” transactions will still be prepared in paper but must be lodged electronically after 11 October 2021.
If you have any further questions about eConveyancing in NSW, please feel free to contact our Property Law partner, Mark Fitzpatrick at firstname.lastname@example.org or on 0433 904 562.