The Registrar General recently made two important announcements relating to certificates of title within Australia.
- On 11 October 2021, all certificates of title ('CTs') will be abolished, known as 'cessation day'; and
- From 11 October 2021, paper dealings will no longer be accepted for lodgment and only electronic dealings will be accepted.
This means that from 11 October 2021, New South Wales will have 100% e-conveyancing.
The Land Registry Service has stated that:
"These changes represent the final reforms for the NSW land titles system to be 100% electronic, which is faster and more secure than the traditional paper process. We will continue to work with industry stakeholders to ensure a smooth transition away from paper and to a fully digital process."
The Registrar has reminded us that "The Torrens Title Register remains and has always been the single source of truth as to a person's ownership or interest in land".
Changes for Land Owners
The Registrar General has published the following summary of changes from the current practice for landowners:
- Those who pay off their mortgage will not receive a CT as was traditionally the case.
- A purchaser of property without the need for a mortgage (aka "cash-buyer") will not receive a CT.
- When a plan of subdivision is registered, and new parcels of land created, CTs (or CoRD) will no longer be issued for those parcels.
In all instances an Information Notice will issue, which will confirm the dealings registered and date of registration.
Landowners of unencumbered land (i.e. no mortgage) who have a CT don't have to do anything before or after 11 October 2021. After this date the CT will no longer be a legal document.
Landowners with a CT who plan to deal with their land in the next six months should hold onto the CT, even after 11 October 2021. This is because a transaction may begin before this date, but not yet be finalised. In this case, the CT may be needed to satisfy requisitions or other administrative notices that were issued before 11 October 2021.
Those who own unencumbered land, but have someone else holding or storing their CT, may wish to request to have it back. From 11 October 2021 there will no longer be a remedy under the Real Property Act 1900 to get a CT back from others, given it has no legal effect.
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.