All of us are familiar with Certificates of Title pertaining to land. It is the document that was originally issued by the Registrar General which identifies the registered owner of the property, any covenants or encumbrances.

We may recall original Certificates of Title which were large and cumbersome documents. They were however something that was cherished and held on to securely as it was the piece of paper which affirmed our ownership of the Australian dream, that is our own home.

The days of Certificates of Title however are coming to an end.

Cessation Day has now been gazetted under the Real Property Act which provides that no new Certificates of Title will be issued by the Registrar General as from 11 October 2021.

On that day all Certificates of Title in New South Wales will be abolished. They will no longer be considered a legal document and the holding of a Certificate of Title will hold “no force or effect”. Therefore, the very last day that Certificates of Title will be utilised in a conveyancing transaction in New South Wales will be 8 October 2021.

This change to conveyancing practice in New South Wales is part of the Government’s agenda to make conveyancing entirely paperless and entirely electronic. It is a process which commenced on a national scale in 2008 with the introduction of eConveyancing to the agenda of the Council of Australian Governments (COAG). In 2010 Property Exchange Australia (PEXA) was formed as part of the national eConveyancing initiative for the conveyancing industry to be electronically based, with the first fully online property settlement effected in New South Wales in 2014.

Over the years the online settlement process has been refined to enable online yet still physical Certificates of Title to be issued. That is the case until 11 October 2021.

To complete a conveyancing transaction the parties in the electronic workspace in PEXA must have:

  • The right to deal; and

  • Control of the Right to Deal (CoRD)
    Certificates of Title were issued with Certificate Authentication Codes (CAC) and the party with CoRD were required to:

  • Hold the original Certificate of Title; and

  • Provide the CAC;

to consent to a transaction.

For settlements where Certificates of Title were issued prior to the placement of a CAC, the original Certificate of Title was required to be located and provided physically to NSW Land Registry Services (LRS). LRS would verify the authenticity of the Certificate of Title and provide a production receipt to allow consent by the party with the CoRD to a transaction.

This process will be eliminated entirely from 11 October 2021. The entire transaction will be undertaken electronically. The Registrar will record the person having the CoRD. In the event that there is an encumbrance on the property, the CoRD will be held by the Mortgagee. Where there is no mortgage or encumbrance on Title, the owner or registered proprietor has both the right to deal and the CoRD.

All dealings as from Cessation Day must be completed by a subscriber to eConveyancing. The subscriber must verify the identity of the party that has the right to deal with the property and the CoRD, or liaise with the party with the CoRD for consent. A subscriber is a person or business authorised to complete electronic conveyancing transactions.

Your solicitor or conveyancer needs to be a subscriber, or engage a subscriber, to represent you in the conveyancing process.

For those who are holding Certificates of Title for their properties, you should do so and ensure that they are retained in safe custody until at least Cessation Day. On Cessation Day the Certificates of Title will be automatically abolished. After that day you can:

  • Continue to hold your Certificate of Title.

  • Destroy it.

  • Frame it.

  • Generally do whatever you like with it.

as they are no longer a legal document from that date.

Brydens Lawyers are experts in all conveyancing matters. Brydens Lawyers are subscribers to eConveyancing and joined the PEXA platform in 2017. Since that time Brydens Lawyers has successfully undertaken hundreds of conveyancing transactions through PEXA. For all your conveyancing needs contact Brydens Lawyers without delay on 1800 848 848 or at brydens.com.au. At Brydens Lawyers – #WE DO conveyancing.