Paper Certificates of Title Abolished in NSW from 11 October 2021

From 11 October 2021, paper-based Certificates of Title will no longer be required to prove ownership of property in NSW. As a State, we are collectively moving towards 100% electronic conveyancing and the paperless lodgment of dealings in regard to land and property transactions.

Whilst this will not affect the majority of property owners, it does mean that if you are looking to buy or sell property, you will need a property lawyer or conveyancer that is familiar with the process to conduct all of the relevant searches and registrations on your behalf.

What is a Certificate of Title?

In the past, ownership of land or property has been proven by a Certificate of Title, which is a paper copy of the related folio on the Torrens Land Title Register.  The Certificate showed the particulars of the property in question, including the official record of land ownership and whether there was a mortgage registered.

How were Certificates of Title Used?

A Certificate of Title was required to prove ownership of land whenever there was a purchase or sale transaction.  For example, if you engaged a solicitor to draw up a contract for the sale of your property, they would have to request a Certificate of Title to prove that you had the right to sell the property.  Similarly, if you were looking to purchase a property or land, your solicitor would have checked the Certificate of Title to ensure it was a legitimate sale.

What will happen after 11 October 2021?

From 11 October 2021, no paper Certificates of Title will be issued in NSW.  Instead, all titles will be converted to electronic Certificates of Title (eCT).

Similar to a paper Certificate of Title, an eCT is an electronic record of the land ownership. It will be typically issued to a mortgagee (eg. a bank or financial institution) when a mortgage is registered on the Torrens Land Title Register.

Your lawyer or conveyancer can also obtain a copy of the eCT for your property.

Proof of ownership and other interests in property will continue to be held in the Torrens Register, and solicitors or conveyancers must verify the identity of their client and confirm their client’s right to deal with the land through the Torrens Register when acting in the sale of a property.  It will no longer be a requirement for you to produce a paper Certificate of Title.

If your property has a mortgage on it, the bank or financial institution that issued the mortgage will be holding your original paper Certificate of Title.  You do not have to do anything further, as the document will no longer be relevant. However, if you have any questions regarding the Certificate, you should contact your bank.

If you own your property outright and RN LEGAL is currently holding your Certificate of Title in safe custody, we will continue to hold onto your Certificate until (a) you ask us to send you the document, or (b) you ask us to destroy the document.

RN LEGAL has assisted many clients with their property transactions including sale or purchase of property, commercial lease. RN LEGAL has the experience, expertise and resources to help you with your property transaction. Contact us on [02] 9191 9293 or if you require advice in relation to your property matter.