Lodgement and Registration of Real Property Documents during COVID-19

08 MAY 2020


The COVID-19 pandemic has presented a number of difficulties in relation to the lodgement and registration of numerous real property documents with NSW Land Registry Services. This in turn has impacted, or has potential to impact, a large number of people, including anyone wishing to buy, sell, alter or vary any Property, to landlords and tenants and mortgagees and mortgagors. Like the majority of society, the NSW Land Registry Services is introducing a number of initiatives which aim to adapt to the COVID environment and make processes more remotely accessible, for industry professionals and individuals alike.

NSW Land Registry Services COVID-19 Residual Lodgment Service

The NSW Land Registry Services (LRS) is currently putting in place temporary measures to assist lodging parties throughout the COVID-19 pandemic. The COVID-19 Residual Lodgment service will enable for the electronic lodgments and submission of documents to the LRS through the PEXA Electronic Lodgment Network Operator throughout this period.

The COVID-19 Residual Lodgment service allows for paper documents to be sent through to the LRS via a PEXA workspace as a document in PDF format. The LRS will then treat the PDF version of the document as if it were traditionally lodged in paper. This is an optional alternative to the traditional over-the-counter lodgment service which will still be available as normal throughout this period.   

In summary, the changes will be implemented in two phases:

1. Phase 1 from 11 May 2020

From 11 May 2020, PEXA subscribers will be able to:

a)    lodge paper Real Property Act dealings with a Land Title Reference via the PEXA workspace. This will include dealings which are not currently available for electronic lodgment, as well as mandated documents which are currently lodged in paper pursuant to Conveyancing Rules Exemptions.

Types of Lodgments

Examples of these dealings include, but are not limited to, Change of Name forms, Variation of Lease and Mortgage forms, Positive Covenants and Restrictions on the Use of Land forms including extinguishment, variation and release forms, Transfers altering Tenancy and Applications to Record New Registered Proprietors.

Worked Example

If a person wishes to change their name, a Change of Name in the approved form 10CN must be completed in paper and duly executed in the usual manner in accordance with the Registrar General’s Guidelines. Once the approved form is completed, the Subscriber opens a PEXA workspace and selects the corresponding dealing, in this example being ‘Change of Name’. The Subscriber then completes the workspace by inserting the land title reference and the scanned paper dealing form as a PDF attachment. The Subscriber then signs the electronic instrument and provides the necessary certifications;

b)    electronically respond to requisitions raised by the LRS through the ‘COVID-19 Requisition Secure Upload Portal’; and

c)     access the ‘Virtual Lodgment Office’ which will provide a document upload facility for all correspondence documents currently held at the LRS Lodgment Office. This includes documents such as Letters Requesting Urgency and Consents.

2. Phase 2 from 25 May 2020

From 25 May 2020, PEXA subscribers will be able to lodge paper documents which don’t have a Real Property Act Land Title Reference or where the Land Title is not electronically tradable, via the PEXA workspace as a document in PDF format.

Types of Lodgments

Examples of these dealings include, but are not limited to, Powers of Attorney, Deeds which affect titles which are not electronically tradeable, Old System Documents and Primary Applications.

Worked Example

To lodge a Power of Attorney, the prescribed form is completed in the normal manner. Once completed, the Subscriber opens a PEXA workspace and selects the document known as ‘Miscellaneous document’. The Subscriber then completes the workspace with a pre-defined ‘dummy’ reference title, inserts the name of the applicant and attaches the scanned power of attorney form as a PDF attachment.

Importantly, for all dealings, the lodging party must follow the process that currently applies in paper, such as completing a Notice of Sale where applicable and ensuring that the paper dealing is assessed by Revenue NSW (where applicable).

The above is based on the current information released and available from the LRS. The practicalities of how this will operate should hopefully become clear from 11 May 2020 or when more information becomes available. 

If you have any questions in relation to this article, feel free to contact Peter Crittenden on pcrittenden@marsdens.net.au or by phoning 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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