Certificates Of Title Going Digital

September 23, 2021

E- Conveyaince is Coming, Here’s What You Need To Know

New rules for property owners

Paper-based processes will be a thing of the past when changes to the NSW land titles system come into effect next month. That’s right, starting in October 2021 All certificates of Title Will be going digital.

Changes to the Real Property Amendment (Certificates of Title) Act 2021, which are effective from 11 October, include:

  • the cancellation of Certificates of Titles and the control of the right to deal (CoRD) framework; and
  • all land dealings must be lodged electronically. This is referred to as ‘100% eConveyancing’.

What is a certificate of title?

If you’ve purchased a block of land or house, you’d be familiar with the certificate of title – you might know this term better as a ‘title deed’.

Here’s how it works. A certificate of title is attached to every piece of Torrens Title (or ‘freehold’) land in NSW. It is part of the Torrens Title Register, which – as the main catalogue for land held in NSW – is the ‘single source of truth’.

A certificate of title is evidence that a purchaser owns the land and any enhancements such as buildings. The certificate contains the name of the owner (or bank or other lender if there’s a mortgage), as well a description of the land (lot and plan number), and other key information like mortgages, covenants, and easements.

If you have a mortgage, the certificate is kept securely in trust by the bank or other financial institution.

(That institution has Control of the Right to Deal or CoRD for short. This means it has the right to agree to the registration of subsequent interests in land.)  

Once you pay off the mortgage, the bank has traditionally handed over the certificate of title. 

What’s the change?  

From 11 October, certificates of title will:

  • no longer exist
  • no longer be issued, and
  • not have to be produced as evidence in order to buy or sell a parcel of land.

All transactions will be transitioned to electronic – ‘e-conveyancing’.

What does this mean for you?

From that date:

  • Once you pay off your mortgage, you won’t receive a certificate of title.
  • If you buy property without the need for a mortgage (a “cash buyer”), you will not receive a certificate of title.
  • If you’re planning to sub-divide, registered, and new parcels of land created, certificates of title (or CoRD) will no longer be issued for those parcels.

Instead, the NSW Land Registry Services will issue an information notice. It contains similar details like the date of registration, and the dealings (eg a mortgage).

When you next buy a property or plan to sub-divide, your legal representative must verify the identity of the people concerned, and their right to deal with the property.

What’s the benefit to you?

As a legal document, a certificate of title had to be kept safely with other key documents such as a passport and birth certificate. And if your land is under mortgage, the bank or lender was responsible for keeping that title until the mortgage was finalised.

With these changes, you’ll no longer have to keep this paperwork safe under lock and key. 

What do you have to do?

Nothing – unless you’re in the middle of a transaction that’s due to settle before 11 October. Those dealings still need to abide by the current rules.

If you’re thinking about buying or selling a property, speak to CM Law. Our conveyancing specialists know NSW property laws inside out, and will give you the expertise and support you deserve. Contact one of our award winning conveyancers now.

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