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NSW takes up paperless conveyancing

By Juliet Helmke
12 November 2021 | 1 minute read
NSW takes up paperless conveyancing

NSW has followed the lead of Queensland, South Australia, and the ACT in switching to electronic-only titles.

The changes, which came into effect on 11 October 2021, go a step further than Victoria, Western Australia, and the Northern Territory, where electronic titles are issued, but a home or land owner can also request a paper title. In NSW, existing paper titles are no longer valid.

There are two main implications of this switch, as highlighted by Townsends Business & Corporate Lawyers, which impact how owners conduct dealings with their properties.

  • Paper certificates are no longer needed.

Even if you have a paper certificate, you are no longer required to produce it to prove your ownership of a property. The NSW Land Registry Services keeps an electronic record, which is now used in any lodgement of dealings.

This significant change sought to address the problem of paper certificates being lost or destroyed, which inevitably causes delays in completing transactions.

The issue proved to be particularly prevalent during the settlement of deceased estates, when the executor was unable to locate the paper certificate or when the certificate had been destroyed during a natural disaster event, such as a fire or flooding.

“With the abolition of paper certificates of titles, the good news is that if the paper certificate of title has been lost or destroyed, there will be no need to apply for replacement of certificate of title with the NSW Land Registry Services,” Jonathan See, a solicitor with Townsends Business & Corporate Lawyers commented.

“Consequently, dealings registration, which previously required the surrender of paper certificates of titles, will no longer be held back by the lack of paper certificates of titles,” he added.

  • Unrepresented parties can no longer lodge dealings themselves.

While anyone used to be able to lodge dealings with the NSW Land Registry Services, you must now use the services of a conveyancer or solicitor who is an electronic network operator (ELNO) subscriber for registration matters.

Mr See explained, “If a surviving joint tenant were to lodge a paper Notice of Death upon the death of a co-joint tenant – a fairly straightforward dealings registration – for example, the surviving joint tenant will have to go to a conveyancer or solicitor to have the same electronically lodged as they can no longer lodge the paper Notice of Death themselves with the NSW Land Registry Services.”

Now, parties will be asked to sign a form by their conveyancer or solicitor to verify that the ELNO subscriber is operating on their behalf. The conveyancer or solicitor will also be responsible for verifying the identities of the people concerned. 

NSW takes up paperless conveyancing
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Juliet Helmke

Based in Sydney, Juliet Helmke has a broad range of reporting and editorial experience across the areas of business, technology, entertainment and the arts. She was formerly Senior Editor at The New York Observer.


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