Abolition of the Paper Based Certificate of Title

11 OCT 2021


As time goes on, things that were familiar to us seem to be changing or being disrupted every single day. 

Real property transactions, paper based conveyancing systems, and documentation are not immune.

E-conveyancing and technology has found a way to abolish one of the last corner stones of a real property transaction being the physical Certificate of Title (CT). That is, the abolition of the requirement for the CT to be produced and/or held in its physical form. 

Application Within NSW

On 11 October 2021 one of the biggest changes that we’ve experienced in the conveyancing process is the abolition of the paper based Certificates of Title. 

The Real Property Amendment (Certificate of Title) Act, 2021 makes several changes to legislation importantly allowing for the cancellation of CT’s and progressing NSW to 100% electronic lodgement of land transactions.

There are two significant changes from 11 October 2021:

  • The cancellation of CT’s and the Control Of the Right to Deal (CORD) framework; and 
  • All land dealings must be lodged electronically. This is referred to as 100% e-conveyancing. 

Key Changes from 11 October 2021 

Existing CT’s will be cancelled and CT’s will no longer be issued. 

Existing CT’s cannot be required to be produced, where a dealing or plan is lodged for registration.  

The Torrens Title register has always been and will continue to be the “one source of truth” as to the ownership of a person’s real estate. The Torrens Title register is securely stored and backed up by both NSW Land Registry Services and the Office of the Registrar General. 

 The Impact on Landowners

There are three (3) main changes from the current practice for landowners: 

  • Those who pay off their mortgage will not receive a CT as was traditionally the case. 
  • A purchaser of property without the need for a mortgage will not receive a CT. 
  • When a Plan of Subdivision is registered, and new parcels of land created, CT's will no longer be issued for those parcels. 

Landowners of unencumbered land who have a CT don't have to do anything before or after 11 October 2021. After this date the CT will no longer be a legal document.  

Landowners with a CT who plan to deal with their land in the next six (6) months should hold onto the CT even after 11 October 2021. This is because a transaction may be given before this date but not yet be finalised. In this case the CT may be needed to satisfy requisitions or other administrative notices that were issued before 11 October 2021.

Your CT 

Obviously, as your lawyers, we deal with a substantial amount of documentation on your behalf.  

Where we hold your CT, you will need to give consideration to the following: 

  • Whether you would like to collect your original CT. Please contact your respective client manager/Marsdens lawyer and they will assist you in making arrangements for the collection of that document
  • Whether you would like us to retain the original of your CT. If this is what you would like us to do, we will continue to hold it unless you contact us and advise otherwise. 

If you have any questions or queries, please feel free to get in touch with Peter Crittenden or Lachlan Gelder on (02) 4626 5077. 

The contents of this publication are for reference purposes only. This publication does not constitute legal advice and should not be relied upon as legal advice. Specific legal advice should always be sought separately before taking any action based on this publication.      

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