As of Monday, July 4, 2016, South Australia will have entered the electronic conveyancing age and one of the first ‘casualties’ will be duplicate Certificates of Title.

A four-month probationary period will allow for current transactions to be completed under the old regulations and for practitioners to implement new systems and procedures.

So what does this mean for you, when buying or selling real estate or helping clients do so?

Apart from doing things a new way, it should bring efficiencies to the settlement process and decrease any delay in settlements.

Electronic conveyancing: An overview of the main changes

Electronic forms from the LTO. The Land Titles Office has a raft of new forms which we will be implementing in with our documentation.

Verification of Identity. For a while now, we have had VOI regulations, requiring us to ‘verify’ the identity of parties and with the latest changes to legislation these requirements mature into what is being called VOI Version 3. In effect, Version 3 simply gives a broader scope to the range of transactions for which VOI rules apply.

Verification of Authority. The LTO has published new Verification of Authority guidelines to outline what is needed to ensure a party has the right authority to act in a transaction. Once your authority has been determined, you can then sign a Client Authorisation that grants us the authority to act on your behalf, sign documents and generally move your transactions to completion at a faster pace with less interruption to you.

No more Duplicate Certificates of Title. As of this Monday, all duplicate Certificates of Title will not be required to complete settlement. As a result, this now means that such documents will NO LONGER be required for transactions however we still will request them from you. More below.

Mortgages and discharges – 12 month probationary period. Although the move to electronic conveyancing has a four month period of transition, the Registrar General has extended that to 12 months because banks and lenders need more time for changing forms and the extension will help parties integrate with a new national mortgage scheme taking effect in that period.

Are duplicate Certificates of Title really finished?

Yes. From Monday you will not need to produce these certificates to complete settlement, nor will they be used by the Lands Titles Office to complete the registration of transfers.

Of course, some systems will still require copies of the confirmation of registration and the Registrar General has included options, as outlined in the latest bulletin from the Lands Titles Office:

The LTO will no longer issue the duplicate Certificate of Title. In its place, practitioners (Conveyancers and Solicitors) will be provided with a Confirmation of Registration certificate. This will be delivered via email when your transaction is completed. The original Land Title will still be stored electronically with the LTO and copies (often required for various building approvals etc.) can be purchased online through www.SAILIS.sa.gov.au.

We will forward the Confirmation of Registration emails to you, once they have been received by our office.

At Eckermann Conveyancers, we have been preparing for this day for 18 months and our team already has systems in place to keep our conveyancers abreast of the questions you will have. For example, our latest bulletin includes these questions and answers:

What happens if you can’t find your Duplicate Certificate of Title? If you have misplaced your title, there are other ways we can confirm your right to deal for the property. We will ask you to present other original documents at settlement time. These can include Rates Notices from SA Water & Council, Emergency Service Levy Certificates or your confirmation of lodgement certificate. We will confirm the requirements during the settlement process.

So, be prepared for a raft of changes to the ‘way we do things’ because electronic conveyancing is a big deal and is a fundamental reform of the sector.

The important thing is to have trust in the professional conveyancer you have chosen to work with. They should be on top of these changes and they should be well prepared in guiding you through the process.

Let the new era begin!