Buying a property is one of the biggest investments most people make in their lifetime and the Certificate of Title that has traditionally signified property ownership is about to be abolished. When my husband and I purchased our first home that piece of paper with our names printed as the registered owners of our little piece of paradise in Woolgoolga was the cause for celebration! But as of 11 October 2021, no more paper titles will be issued.
What does this mean for property owners? For most, probably not much. If you have an existing home loan, your title has already been converted to an electronic format. If you’re one of the lucky ones who have already paid off your mortgage and have a Certificate of Title at home, or stored in safe custody with your solicitor/conveyancer, that piece of paper will no longer have any legal effect.
It will mean moving forward that you need to engage the services of a registered subscriber to the electronic conveyancing system, such as a solicitor or conveyancer, to register any changes to your property title including discharging a mortgage, registering a lease, removing a deceased persons details or transferring ownership. There are requirements for subscribers to verify identity and a party’s right to deal with the property before any transaction can occur. The electronic system has been widely used for several years but will now become compulsory as paper lodgement of documents will no longer be accepted by NSW Land Registry Services.
In the next few months you may receive a letter from the person holding your Certificate of Title asking whether you would like the document returned or destroyed. It might be a nice little memory to have in future of the “old days” of paper titles! KC Hilton, WNB Legal.