Are All NSW Titles Electronic?

April 26, 2023

As of 11 October 2021, all land dealings, caveats and priority notices in New South Wales must be lodged electronically, as mandated by the Registrar General. This means that paper lodgements will no longer be accepted, and all titles must be electronic. The move towards 100% eConveyancing is aimed at making the process faster and more secure, with the ultimate record of land ownership in NSW now being recorded electronically with the NSW Land Registry Services.

While the transition to an entirely electronic conveyancing system has been a gradual process, the abolition of paper Certificates of Title in NSW on 11 October 2021 marked a significant milestone. This means that all land titles in NSW are now created and managed by the NSW Land Registry Services, with the details recorded electronically serving as the ultimate record of land ownership. This change has been welcomed by many in the industry, as it streamlines the process and reduces the risk of fraud or errors.

What are NSW titles?

NSW titles refer to the legal documents that provide evidence of ownership of real property in New South Wales, Australia. These titles are created and maintained by the NSW Land Registry Services on behalf of the NSW Government. Historically, NSW titles were paper-based documents, but they have now been converted to electronic format.

History of NSW titles

The first NSW titles were introduced in the 1860s, replacing the old system of deeds and conveyances. These early titles were paper-based documents, which were often lost or destroyed, leading to disputes over property ownership. In the 1990s, the NSW Government began a process of digitising land title records, which culminated in the introduction of the Electronic Conveyancing National Law (NSW) in 2013.

Types of NSW titles

There are several types of NSW titles, including:

  • Torrens title - the most common form of title in NSW, which provides a guarantee of ownership and is backed by the NSW Government.
  • Old system title - a title that was issued before the introduction of Torrens title, which can be more difficult to prove ownership of.
  • Strata title - a title that applies to units or apartments within a building, which allows for separate ownership of individual units.
  • Crown land title - a title that applies to land owned by the NSW Government, such as national parks and reserves.

Each type of title has its own specific requirements and regulations, and it is important for property owners and buyers to understand the differences between them.

Electronic Titles in NSW

Electronic titles, or eTitles, are electronic records of land ownership in New South Wales. They were introduced as part of the electronic conveyancing (eConveyancing) process, which aims to streamline property transactions and reduce the amount of paper-based documentation involved.

Advantages of Electronic Titles

There are several advantages to using eTitles:

  • Efficiency: Electronic titles can be created and updated quickly, reducing the time and paperwork involved in property transactions.
  • Security: eTitles are stored securely in a central database, reducing the risk of loss or damage compared to paper-based titles.
  • Accessibility: Electronic titles can be accessed and viewed online by authorised parties, making it easier to check ownership and other details.

Disadvantages of Electronic Titles

While eTitles have many benefits, there are also some potential drawbacks:

  • Dependence on technology: Electronic titles rely on technology to function, which can create issues if there are technical problems or outages.
  • Security concerns: While eTitles are generally secure, there is always a risk of cyber attacks or other security breaches.
  • Access limitations: Not all parties may have access to the electronic system, which can create issues if there are disputes or other legal issues.

Are all NSW titles electronic?

With the introduction of electronic conveyancing (eConveyancing), the NSW government has abolished all paper Certificates of Title in New South Wales since 11 October 2021. The NSW Land Registry Services (NSW LRS) now issues electronic Certificates of Title (eCT) to authorised deposit-taking institutions when a dealing is registered.

Current status of NSW titles

All land dealings, caveats, and priority notices must be lodged electronically, irrespective of the date they were signed. Paper lodgement of land dealings is no longer permitted in NSW since 11 October 2021. The electronic record of land ownership is now the ultimate record of land ownership in NSW.

NSW LRS has implemented a range of eConveyancing solutions to enable electronic lodgement of land dealings, including:

  • an electronic platform for property transactions called PEXA (Property Exchange Australia)
  • an online portal for electronic lodgement of plans called ePlan
  • an electronic platform for the creation and management of electronic mortgages called eMortgage

Exceptions to electronic titles

There are some limited exceptions to the electronic lodgement of land dealings, including:

  • dealing with an unregistered interest
  • dealing with a deceased estate
  • dealing with a bankrupt estate
  • dealing with a power of attorney
  • dealing with a trust
  • dealing with a foreign corporation
  • dealing with a government body

However, even in these limited cases, paper lodgement is only permitted in exceptional circumstances, and electronic lodgement is still the preferred method.

How to Obtain an Electronic Title

Obtaining an electronic title in New South Wales is a straightforward process that can be completed by following a few simple steps. This section outlines the process of obtaining an electronic title and the associated costs.

Process of Obtaining an Electronic Title

To obtain an electronic title, the following steps need to be taken:

  1. Complete a Request for CoRD Holder Consent eForm, which is available via the general forms page under "R" for Request.
  2. Send the completed form to the CoRD Holder, not to NSW LRS.
  3. The CoRD Holder will prepare and lodge the Cord Holder Consent with NSW LRS through their Electronic Lodgment Network Operator (ELNO).
  4. Once the eCT is issued by NSW LRS to the authorised deposit-taking institution, it records the party that holds the mortgage over the land.

It is important to note that all land dealings, caveats, and priority notices to be lodged with NSW LRS can only be done electronically by a subscriber (e.g., a lawyer, licensed conveyancer, or bank) to an Electronic Lodgment Network.

Cost of Obtaining an Electronic Title

The cost of obtaining an electronic title varies and is dependent on several factors, including the type of transaction and the value of the property. It is recommended that you consult with a licensed conveyancer or solicitor to determine the exact cost of obtaining an electronic title for your specific situation.

In addition to the cost of obtaining an electronic title, there may also be fees associated with lodging land dealings electronically. These fees are outlined on the NSW LRS website and are subject to change.

If you have any questions or need help with NSW titles, get in contact with us today.

Who is Peta Stewart?

Award-winning conveyancer. Entrepreneur. Business mentor. Women’s cycling advocate. These are just some of the ways Peta Stewart is introduced. What ties them together is a steely determination to help people achieve their life goals and have fun in the process.

In 2004, Peta became the first licensed conveyancer in the Albury Wodonga greater region. Five years later, she launched her own business and started shaking up the industry with a good dose of personality, integrity and humanity.

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