Housing, specifically the purchase of, is a hot topic in the
media, in politics and around your workplace water cooler. Most of
us are fairly familiar with the steps involved in the purchase of
residential property but what you may not be across are recent
changes in conveyancing.
Under the new Conveyancing Rules lawyers and conveyancers are
required to verify the identity of their clients, borrowers and
anyone who is to be provided with a certificate of title. In
addition, it must be confirmed that the person having their
identity checked has the authority to deal with the land.
This is known as the Verification of Identity Standards (VOI)
and it aims to standardise processes as part of the shift towards
electronic conveyancing. NSW, Queensland and Victoria land
registries have developed and adopted this process. VOI also aims
to combat fraudulent activity.
Why the need for additional proof of identity?
The Real Property Act 1900 sets out that lenders must take
reasonable steps to confirm the identity of a clients, borrowers
and certificate of title recipients. Lenders are now considered to
have taken reasonable steps if they have adhered to the VOI.
What is the process for verifying identity?
Individuals must participate in a face-to-face interview and
provide at least two documents confirming their identity, such as a
passport, driver's licence or birth certificate.
You can attend your solicitor's office for this interview or
your post office. There are also great apps available to assist in
the interview process.
Where a company is concerned, the existence and identity of the
body corporate must be confirmed by search of ASIC's records.
Reasonable steps must be taken to establish who the person/s are
designated to sign and/or witness the affixing of the seal on
behalf of the body corporate and whether they are in fact
authorised to undertake the role.
In instances where an attorney is involved in the execution,
reasonable steps need to be taken to make sure that the
conveyancing transaction is authorised by the power of
If those involved live overseas, the Department of Foreign
Affairs and Trade has arrangements in place to verify their
identity. These arrangements are consistent across all services
provided by Australian Embassies, High Commissions and
How long is the verification valid for?
The verification of identity is valid for two years however,
lawyers must keep a secure electronic or paper copy of the
verification of identity for seven years as evidence to supporting
the dealing. This evidence should remain accessible and legible
throughout the seven year period in case it needs to be produced as
What happens if you don't comply?
The Registrar General has the power to reject any conveyancing
transaction which doesn't meet the VOI requirements. This may
impact your ability to lodge any further documents relating to
conveyancing transactions for up to 21 days. In addition, you may
have extra conditions imposed to prevent further
Following a transition period of three months, full compliance
is now a requirement, as of 1 August, 2016.
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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