The ACT is following in the footsteps of other Australian states and working toward an electronic conveyancing system. It has been on the horizon for months, with the implementation of gradual measures to make the transition, including identity verifications and the removal of requirements for original signatures on documents. So what could e-Conveyancing mean for you if you are selling or buying property in the ACT?
Certificate of Titles
Firstly and most practically, the ACT Land Titles Office is no longer issuing physical Certificates of Title. If you purchase your home outright from 1 June 2020, you no longer will have to worry about where you keep that blue piece of paper that says you are the owner. Gone will be the days where a home-owner has lined up to sell their property only to be confronted with the stress and costs of arranging for a replacement Certificate of Title when it has been misplaced or destroyed at some stage.
Verification of Identity
The 1st of June 2020 also saw the legislative introduction of the Registrar-General’s requirements for a verification of Identity to be completed by Legal Practitioners. This is a welcomed addition to the conveyancing realm whether it be for a paper or e-Conveyance, giving property owners piece of mind with an extra safeguard in place to protect from real estate fraud.
Interstate Simultaneous Settlements
Another value that online settlements will bring to the ACT will be the facilitation of interstate simultaneous settlements. Particularly being a small territory nestled within NSW surrounds, it is common to be buying a NSW property and selling an ACT one, or vice versa. Simultaneous settlements can weigh heavy on your mind when you are balancing moving from a home in one state to another all on the same day. Being able to link two settlements and follow the same process with make it feel like one smooth transaction without the confusion of a mixture of paper for one and digital for the other.
Bank Fees & Registration Perks
You may even see decreased fees from Financial Institutions, who will no longer need to pay agents to attend settlements, postal fees to get the settlement documents and Certificates of Titles to the settlement location, or charge fees for drawing bank cheques. Delays with registration of transfers and other dealings will also be minimised, since the ACT Land Titles Register is already electronic. In New South Wales lodgements are completed instantaneously upon settlement via the electronic platform, and we can expect to see the same with e-Lodgements in the ACT.
The Benefit of E-Conveyancing Now
Finally, one of the greatest concerns about transitioning to e-Conveyancing is that – like any change – is that it is new. The unique benefit that we have in the ACT is that we have watched other states – NSW, Victoria, Queensland and South Australia – make this change already. We have had time to sit back and see it be tried and tested, providing us with further confidence before we make the final leap.
And of course this is not to mention the benefit to the environment that moving away from paper and printed documents would bring, and the more ways we can do this the better. Given how many property transactions are taking place daily, this will add up to make a considerable impact.
Given the impacts we are facing with the current COVID-19 situation, looking to gradually bring conveyancing online in Canberra could not come at a more suitable time.
With our experience in NSW online conveyances, Griffin Legal will be ready to guide you confidently down the virtual path of an ACT e-Conveyance when it is launched. Visit our conveyancing webpage for our competitive conveyancing fixed fee pricing and contact us to learn more about what we can do for you.