In October 2013, New South Wales first experienced
electronic lodgement and registration of land dealings. In
Victoria, financial institutions have been settling discharges of
mortgages, withdrawals of caveats and refinance transactions
electronically even longer. Queensland expects its first electronic
land title dealings in the next few months.
It is expected that solicitors and conveyancers will be able to
conduct all aspects of conveyancing transactions electronically
along the eastern seaboard within a year. National e-conveyancing
is here to stay! Jacqueline Law, a lawyer in our Property &
Projects team, tells you what you need to know about the new
digital environment for land title dealings being progressively
rolled out across Australia.
WHAT DOES IT MEAN?
E-conveyancing means lawyers will be able to conduct
settlements, digitally sign and lodge land transfers, pay duty,
discharge mortgages and lodge caveats at each State land registry
without any physical documentation.
All this will be undertaken on a national digital system known
as Property Exchange Australia ("PEXA") which is accessed
by Land Titles Offices and Registries, financial institutions,
lawyers and conveyancers, State Revenue Offices and peak industry
bodies such as the Australian Institute of Conveyancers and the Law
Council of Australia.
Lawyers will need to obtain their client's authority before
using the system to undertake a transaction.
HOW E-CONVEYANCING OPERATES
The final details of how e-conveyancing is to operate are yet to
be determined but it is expected that:
The PEXA system will link conveyancing practitioners, banks and
land registries. Once parties lodge information for a particular
matter, it will immediately be seen by the other parties.
The subscriber will prepare and lodge the transfer online by
completing appropriate details through the PEXA system.
Completion occurs when settlement funds arrive in the
vendor's solicitor trust account. Stamp Duty on the transfer
will need to be paid prior to settlement.
Confirmation of completion is given by the subscriber to the
purchaser (or their legal representative).
The Titles Register is either updated live online or promptly
processed by the Registry following settlement.
Australia has about 5 million property transactions each year
with an estimated value of $2.5 billion. Once the e-conveyancing
system is bedded down, it will result in less room for error in the
process and it is expected to result in savings of around 10% on
The content of this article is intended to provide a general
guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought
about your specific circumstances.
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