The paper certificate of title is the latest casualty in the slow shift towards become a paperless society thanks to the passing of the Land, explosives and Other Legislation Amendment Act 2019 (‘OLAA’) last month.

While this will likely be a positive change for those who deal with conveyancing matters regularly, it is a move that is likely to unsettle some of the older members of society, and during its ‘settling in’ period, is likely to cause some confusion.

In order to give effect to the amendments contained within the OLAA pertaining to Certificates of Title, various sections of the Land Title Act 1994 (Qld) (‘ LTA’)  are being removed, with the effect that from the 1st October 2019 paper certificates of title will no longer be regarded as an ‘instrument’ under the LTA and will no longer be used.

In practical terms, this means that even if you are presently holding an original certificate of title for your property, as of the 1st October 2019, the certificate will become nothing more than a sheet of paper and the electronic title register maintained by the Titles Registry will become the record and source of property ownership information.

The shift to electronic titles registers has taken place Australia-wide, however

while there are some states in Australia that still issue a paper certificate of title either upon registration of an interest in land or upon a request from the landowner, all of the states manage electronic titles registers, and the phasing out of all paper certificates of title appears to be only a matter of time.

Many opponents of the shift to paperless titles registers were concerned about the security implications and the increased risk of fraud associated with property transactions.

In fact, electronic title registrations, in conjunction with electronic conveyancing (PEXA), means that security is tightened as the lodgement of documents occurs simultaneously in the electronic workspace, reducing the gap of some 4 weeks or so which can often occur when settlements are physically conducted.

There have been numerous safeguards built in to the electronic registers, the electronic conveyancing regime and its associated platforms such as multi-factor authentication and sophisticated algorithms to detect suspicious behaviour, as well as an increased focus on relevant participants carrying out  thorough identification checks, tightening up their own online security and verifying client instructions in multiple ways to ensure their veracity is maintained.

Affinity Lawyers on the Gold Coast completed the first electronic Trustee Transfer in Queensland through PEXA in November 2017, and we welcome the shift to electronic conveyancing to provide our clients with secure, swift and straight-forward conveyancing transactions. You can read our earlier article about the launch here

As always, should you have any queries regarding the sale or purchase of property, or any other conveyancing or property related enquiries, please contact our friendly Gold Coast team on 07 5563 8970.