No more paper title deeds – what you need to know about e-conveyancing

Settlements used to require lawyers and banks to meet up to check and swap documents and bank cheques. The documents had to then be lodged with the Land Registry Office and government authorities had to be notified about the transaction.

The recently introduced e-conveyancing system will cancel Existing Certificate Titles (CT) and CTs will no longer be issued resulting in no more paper title deeds. The new process will ensure that conveyancing is completed with speed, efficiency and accuracy.

What is e-conveyancing?

e-Conveyancing provides an electronic online business environment for completing property transactions including electronic lodgement with Land Registries and the electronic settlement of payment of funds. e-Conveyancing is facilitated via a secure online environment to:

  • Lodge the Land Title documents needed to register changes in property ownership and interests;
  • Allow the various parties involved in the transaction to view and complete the documents online to conclude the property exchange or transaction; and
  • Allow for the electronic settlement of all financial transactions at a nominated date including settlement monies, duties, taxes and any other disbursements.

What will happen to Certificates of title?

Existing CTs will be cancelled and no longer issued. Existing CTs cannot be required to be produced to have a dealing or plan lodged for registration.

Authorised Deposit-Taking Institutions, for example, banks, will no longer be issued with CoRD, which is the electronic equivalent of a CT.

The Torrens Title Register has always been and continues to be the single source of truth as to the ownership of a person’s property.

How will I be impacted if I’m a landowner?

The 3 main changes from the current practice for landowners includes:

  1. Those who pay off their mortgage will no longer receive a CT;
  2. Purchasers of property without the need for a mortgage (“cash-buyers”) will not receive a CT;
  3. When a plan of subdivision is registered, and new parcels of land created, CTs (or CoRD) will no longer be issued for those parcels of land.

As the abolition of CTs is only a new concept, we recommend you seek legal advice if unsure as to how this will affect you.

If you are a landowner with a CT who intends to sell your land in the next six months, you should hold onto your CT because any of your transactions regarding land may not be finalised before 11 October 2021. In this scenario, the CT may be required to satisfy requisitions or other administrative notices issued before 11 October 2021.

If you own unencumbered land and have someone else holding or storing your CT, you can request it be returned to you, as from 11 October 2021 onwards, there will no longer be a remedy to request a CT back.

Again, if you are unsure as to where you stand regarding CTs, we recommend you seek legal advice from an experienced lawyer.

What will replace CTs?

The Torrens Register will be considered the single source of truth as to a person’s interest or estate in land. All documents to be registered on the Torrens Register must be lodged by a subscriber, who is either a client’s lawyer or conveyancer. The person’s subscriber must verify the identity of their client and prove they have the right to deal with the land.

Conclusion

As of October 11 2021, the New South Wales land titles system will be completely managed through e-conveyancing. This means the settlement process will become faster and more secure than the traditional paper one.

It is important to understand that CTs will be completely abolished and no longer required to be submitted in the e-conveyancing process. The Torrens Register will become the single source as to the ownership of a person’s interest or estate in land.

Talk to a specialist

For a confidential, free case assessment, please call us on 02 6621 2481 at Lismore, Ballina on 02 6686 2522 or Byron Bay on 02 6680 8525, email [email protected] or contact us online.