By mid to late July 2016, we expect the groundwork to be in place allowing for electronic conveyancing in South Australia, or e-conveyancing, after an amendment bill was passed in the state’s upper house last week.
This is the moment we have been preparing for and investing for at Eckermann Conveyancers and some might say we are counting the sleeps!
These new changes, once regulations are in place, will change conveyancing forever and it is very likely that some conveyancers might decide to leave the industry.
However, you can rest assured that Eckermann Conveyancers is primed and ready to meet the changes and challenges on your behalf as we assume the new role conveyancers will play, that of being gatekeepers for documents lodged to the Land Titles Office.
Let me explain.
The ayes have it: Electronic conveyancing in South Australia endorsed by parliament
The Real Property (Electronic Conveyancing) Amendment Bill 2016 was passed by the Legislative Council without amendment last week, implementing a suite of reforms to the laws that have been in place since the late 1800s.
The Bill changes requirements for documents lodged with the Land Titles Office and lodging parties (Conveyancers) will now have new obligations upon them.
From your perspective, your conveyancer will become more important than ever because we will be charged with the responsibility for ensuring that all parties to a transaction have given correct or ‘presecribed’ authorisations.
You might recall changes to the Verification Of Identification regulations, VOI, started us down the pathway to this new era? I wrote about it here in 2014: You know my name, look up my number: New verification of identity for conveyancing in SA.
The upside of these changes is that by allowing us to take declarations and to sign and certify lodged documents, most bottlenecks in the settlement process will be eradicated, allowing for faster settlements.
When will electronic conveyancing in South Australia be available?
According to the Australian Insitute of Conveyancing SA, the amending bill has a few steps to navigate before it is proclaimed and operative.
“New Regulations are required to implement some of the changes and will include some additional requirements and exceptions. Those Regulations must be approved by Cabinet before being promulgated. It is now anticipated that the amendments and new Regulations will become operative in about one month.”
When this happens, the Registrar-General has suggested he will allow four months transition time before enforcing the new requirements on documents lodged in the Land Titles Office.
Will e-conveyancing in South Australia affect me?
If you have a settlement underway or are about to enter into a contract at the time of writing, it is unlikely you will be affected by these changes.
However, early in Spring we expect to have this new system in place and all parties will be benefiting from the faster, more sensible process.
My best advice, as always, is to ask your conveyancer because they are your trusted advisor guiding you through the settlement process and they will/should have their finger on the pulse.
Looking more broadly, we should all be affected in a positive way, when electronic conveyancing is in full flight because less red tape leads to a more efficient economy.
The minister, John Rau, says this change will deliver $10 million in savings in red tape to South Australia, something for which Eckermann Conveyancers has been calling for many years.