What is eConveyancing anyway? (also known as digital or electronic settlements)
In 2016 eConveyancing launched in South Australia. This was an exciting time for Conveyancers as it paved the way for settlements to be processed completely in a digital environment.
Changes were made to the Real Property Act to facilitate today’s eConveyancing environment. These were by far the greatest changes made to the Act since it was passed in 1858 and some of the most significant we have ever experienced in our industry.
The key benefit of eConveyancing is that the new ownership is registered immediately. Previously, there could have been a four-to-six week gap between the time of settlement and documents being registered at the Lands Titles Office.
Under eConveyancing funds are transferred in real time which means Vendors receive funds immediately rather than having to wait for bank cheques to clear.
Verification of Identity & Authority
As gatekeepers in the eConveyancing environment, Conveyancers must be confident of who their clients are and that they have the authority to deal with the land. It is a requirement that anyone involved in a property transaction must be formally identified. The Verification of Identity is a structured and tiered requirement set by the Lands Titles Office. The process involves a face-to-face interview with a conveyancer (or their agent), and sufficient identification must be produced to confirm identity.
In addition to verifying identity, we must also take reasonable steps to verify our client’s authority or entitlement to be a party to the transaction. This involves establishing a link between the land and the owner. For a Vendor, this may be as simple as obtaining a copy of a current council rates notice.
The verification of identity, authority check, and the signing of the client authority should ideally be completed during the same face-to-face interview. This ensures all checks are done at once and we can confidently sign any documents on our client’s behalf.
No Duplicate Certificates of Title
The most significant change under eConveyancing was the removal of duplicate Certificates of Title. With Titles now able to be searched on the Register via the internet, duplicate Certificates of Title are no longer required and are no longer valid documents.
The Lands Titles Office no longer issues green duplicate Certificates of Title and clients no longer need to keep any such Titles in their possession.
Instead, an electronic Confirmation Certificate is provided to us, which we forward to all clients as part of our internal process. The original Land Title will remain in electronic storage with the Lands Titles Office.
Retention of Evidence
Conveyancers must retain a copy of all supporting evidence for 7 years and the Registrar-General of the Lands Titles Office will be auditing Conveyancer files to ensure that evidence is retained. Tuckfields utilise a professional archiving service with state-of-the-art security to give our team and clients peace of mind.
When these changes were first announced, they did sound daunting! But the reality is that the changes have helped us further streamline our processes and move our industry further into the digital world.
We are always happy to provide guidance or advice so please do contact us with any questions you may have.
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