embracing a digital e-conveyancing

Say goodbye to paper titles – Embracing a digital land registry in NSW

Published: 3 September 2021

Written by: John Momitsas and Sara Ibrahim

The pursuit to move from traditional paper conveyancing processes, towards a completely digital e-conveyancing system, will be achieved shortly with a firm date for the abolishment of the traditional paper system now set. 

By order under section 33AA of the Real Property Act 1900 (NSW), the Registrar General of NSW (RG) has declared that as of 11 October 2021, recognised as ‘Cessation Day’, all Certificate of Titles (CT’s) will be abolished and no longer have any legal effect. As a result, the requirement for the Control of the Right to Deal (CoRD) will also be abolished. 

The RG has declared that this is the final reform that converts the NSW land titles system to be 100% electronic and will facilitate a superior conveyancing process, which is far more efficient and secure than the traditional paper system. 

It is important to note, that in these changes, a transition to 100% electronic leasing will also occur. The registration of leases will now be made easier as electronic dealings will now be required to be lodged by a subscriber to an Electronic Lodgment Network Operator (ELNO). A list of the electronic dealings that will be accepted for lodgment are listed here.   

How does this affect property owners and transactions? 

Following the new amendments, the RG announced three main impacts electronic CT’s may have on landowners: 

  1. When a landowner pays off their mortgage after this date, they will not receive a CT where they traditionally would have;  
  1. A purchaser of property without the need for a mortgage will not receive a CT; and  
  1. When a plan of subdivision is registered, and new parcels of land created, CT’s (or CoRD) will no longer be issued for those parcels. 

Current CT’s of landowners of unencumbered land (i.e. no mortgage) 

If you currently possess a CT for your property, no action is required to be taken prior to or after October 11. Simply, the CT will no longer be a legal document or have any legal effect.  

However, if your CT is currently in the hands of a solicitor, it is best advised to ascertain the document, where you may choose for it to be returned, stored or destroyed. The remedy which allows you to get back your CT from others, under the Real Property Act 1900 (NSW) will be discontinued, given it holds no legal effect. 

Electronic Leasing  

Electronic leasing will now only require the landlord’s legal representative in the ELNO workspace, however if the tenant’s legal representative is the lodging party, then a different procedure must be followed, which procedure is to be released in due course via the RG’s Lodgment Rules. 

CoRD Consent 

Alongside the cancellation of CT’s, the CoRD framework will also cease to have any legal effect. As a result, CoRD will no longer be issued, and all recordings relating to CoRD holders will be removed from the Torrens Title Register on October 11. However, it is advised for parties pursuant to s 53(4) of the Real Property Act, to seek mortgagee written consent to the lease prior to registering. In doing so, you are ensuring the mortgagee will be bound to the lease. The mortgagee’s written consent is to then be uploaded to the ELNO workspace and registered with the lease.  

How should you prepare? 

These new changes are set out on the website of the NSW Office of the Registrar General, which can provide you with a complete picture of what these changes may look like or alternatively contact our Real Estate team to discuss how this may affect you.  

If you are currently undergoing lease preparations, it is encouraged that you start using the electronic lease now to avoid being caught out after October 11.  

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