Changes to the WA Transfer of Land Act

New legislation passed WA Parliament on 16 June 2022 to support the continued modernisation of the state’s electronic land dealings, known as e-conveyancing.

More information is available in the Minister for Lands media statement.

The legislation - which is known as the Transfer of Land Amendment Act 2022 - includes three key changes:

  • Removal of duplicate titles will occur in August 2023, with the exact date to be confirmed closer to the time.
  • Enablement of electronic notices will be staged in its implementation for different notice types, as regulations dealing with notices are passed and systems become available.
  • Clarification of the definition of counterpart documents will commence when regulations dealing with counterparts are passed.

These changes will each be brought in at different times, after each provision is proclaimed to commence.

What do these changes mean? 

Change One: The removal of duplicate (paper) certificates of title from WA’s titling system.

A Duplicate Certificate of Title (where there is one issued), is a paper version of the corresponding original certificate of title, with some differences and limitations. Read more in our Frequently Asked Questions below.

Duplicate certificates of title have been a feature of the Titles Register since its inception and have been colloquially known at "Title Deeds" or “Paper Titles”.

In August 2023, Duplicate Titles will no longer be issued and will be removed from WA’s land titling system, with the specific date to be confirmed closer to the change being brought in. From that date, Duplicate Titles will no longer be created or issued. Any Duplicate Titles which are issued from that date in August 2023 will no longer have any legal effect. Anyone who has a Duplicate Title will not need to return it to Landgate, destroy it or have it rendered invalid.

The removal of Duplicate Titles is part of the ongoing advancements happening across electronic conveyancing within Western Australia and nationally, in consultation with the conveyancing, legal and financial services industries. Removing Duplicate Titles will clarify and simplify all conveyancing in a way that does not detract from the integrity of the WA land Register.

As Duplicate Titles have been optional since 1996, we have been transitioning to this point for a long time. There are already over 55 per cent of freehold titles which are paperless with no Duplicate Title issued.

Many people may not be aware that a Duplicate Title has a number of limitations. For example, caveats, memorials, notifications and property (seizure and sale) orders have never appeared on a Duplicate Title so it may not give a true indication of the encumbrances associated with a parcel of land. Parties need to search the original Certificate of Title for this information.

This page will be updated with information and resources over the coming months to support industry groups and anyone who may be impacted to understand and prepare for the changes.

Find out more

Find answers to your common questions about changes to WA’s Transfer of Land Act 1893 which relate to the abolition of duplicate (paper) titles:

What is a Certificate of Title?

A Certificate of Title is the original certificate of title which provides the legal record of land ownership in WA.

It records the current ownership details, a legal description of the land and all current registered dealings for a parcel of land. A certificate of title has always been retained by Landgate (and its previous agencies) whether in paper or digital form. With a digital titles Register, the Certificate of Title is a computer record.

Every certificate of title in Western Australia is registered and guaranteed by the State Government through its central, digital land title Register.

What is a Duplicate Certificate of Title?

Duplicate Titles (also known as the Title Deeds or Paper Titles), have been optional in WA for over 25 years with less than half of all freehold land now having a duplicate title issued.

A Duplicate Certificate of Title, (where there is one issued), is a paper version of the corresponding original certificate of title. It is a snapshot of the Certificate of Title at the exact date and time the Duplicate Title was issued by the Registrar of Titles. However, unlike the original title, it does not record information such as caveats, memorials, notifications and property (seizure and sales) orders, which have never been shown on a Duplicate Title.

Why are duplicate titles being removed from use in WA?

Electronic conveyancing continues to progress in WA and nationally, providing a safer way for property transactions to occur. Having to produce a paper Duplicate Title for an electronic land transaction does not make sense. There are now safer ways to verify a right to deal on a certificate of title to record or register an interest in the land other than possession of a Duplicate Title. As Duplicate Titles have been optional for over 25 years, we have been transitioning to this point for a long time including creating safer legal frameworks into the state and national electronic conveyancing networks and registration processes.

If duplicate certificates of title are removed, how do I prove my property ownership?

Property owners can be assured it is the original certificate of title – not the duplicate paper copy - held by Landgate’s central land Register which provides the complete legal evidence of their property’s ownership in Western Australia.

When will the abolition of duplicate titles take effect?

August 2023 will be the date for implementing the change to abolish duplicate titles, with the specific date to be advised. The timing of the change will take into account the consultation with conveyancing, legal and financial services industries and will allow enough time for industry and Landgate systems and processes to be ready for implementation and enable interest holders time to make alternate arrangements if a Duplicate Title is relied upon for unsecured loans.

Duplicate certificates of title (paper) continue to be optional. Where a Duplicate Title is issued, it is still valid and required to be produced for specified transactions until the amended law is brought in. The current requirements for the registration of land transaction documents will continue to apply until the implementation date in August 2023.

What will the transition process involve?

Prior to abolishing Duplicate Titles in August 2023, there will be a transition period where Landgate will inform industry and the broader community about what’s required to prepare for this change.

This support will include industry information sessions and public education.

Can I hold onto my duplicate certificate of title after this change?

Yes, you can hold onto your duplicate title as a historical keepsake, but it will have no legal effect once the amended law takes effect in August 2023. If you are currently in possession of a Duplicate Title, it should still be stored securely until the change occurs to formally abolish the Duplicate Title.

You will still be able to obtain the information relating to a title by conducting a search of the digital (original) certificate of title. This search is called a Record of Certificate of Title and includes all ownership and registered interests held in the WA land Register relating to that title at the time the search is undertaken.

You can order a Record of Certificate of Title Search via Landgate’s    website.

How can I prove that I own my property if I can no longer use my Duplicate Title as evidence of this?

Most transactions on the land titles Register require Verification of Identity and Verification of Right to Deal to be undertaken by conveyancing professionals and Mortgagees to establish that the person who is transacting on the title is who they purport to be and that they have the right to deal with the property.

Verifying identity and the right to deal mitigates the risk of a fraudulent transaction and gives other parties confidence that they are transacting with the person who has the right to transact.

It’s my property, why can’t I keep my duplicate title as proof of ownership?

It’s a misconception that holding a paper duplicate title provides absolute proof that a person is the true registered landowner, as it could have been fraudulently obtained. A Duplicate Title may not show an accurate representation of registered interests against a property if there are Memorials, Notifications, Caveats or Property (Seizure and Sale) Orders registered, as a Duplicate Title has never displayed this information. This information is only shown on the original certificate of title which is retained by Landgate as a computer record.

The Registrar and Commissioner of Titles at Landgate have alternative and more secure ways of confirming a right to deal, such as the Verification of Identity and Authority to Deal practice (known as ‘VOI practice’).

It is the digital certificate of title held by Landgate’s central land title register which provides the complete legal evidence of your property’s ownership in Western Australia - not the duplicate paper copy.

How is electronic conveyancing making property transactions safer?

WA’s electronic conveyancing system has a range of secure checks in place for land transactions that reduce the risk of fraud. These include:

  • A closed trusted and insured group of professionals undertaking transactions.
  • An obligation for landowners to undergo a verification of identity process at the time of putting the property on the market and once again with the settlement agent or lawyer who undertakes the conveyancing.
  • An obligation for landowners to establish their right to deal on the property A client authorisation process.
  • Banking institutions use sophisticated software to profile financial transactions.

What is Landgate doing to secure my land title? How do I know my title won’t be subject to cyber-attacks?

The security of WA’s digital land titles register is safeguarded by cyber security practices that are specified by the Government of Western Australia’s Cyber Security policy which provides a comprehensive and systematic approach to mitigate cyber risk and protect personal information. Both the WA Department of Premier and Cabinet’s Cyber Security Unit and Landgate have security monitoring to detect and respond to any unusual activity identified.

The data back-ups for the registry are completed in line with the Information Security Management Guide (ISO27001), which is the international best practice standard published by the International Organisation for Standardisation.

Most transactions on the land titles Register require Verification of Identity and Verification of Right to Deal to be undertaken by conveyancing professionals and Mortgagees to establish that the person who is transacting on the title is who they purport to be and that they have the right to deal with the property.

Verifying identity and the right to deal mitigates the risk of a fraudulent transaction and gives other parties confidence that they are transacting with the person who has the right to transact.

Where is my certificate of title data stored?

All certificate of titles in WA are securely held within the State’s digital land register as a computer record.

That digital data is stored within Australia, as recommended by the WA Government’s Data Offshoring Position.

Why were duplicates needed before but now they aren’t?

In 1996, amendments to the Transfer of Land Act 1893 paved the way for WA’s digital land title Register and the introduction of electronic conveyancing.

Issuing a Duplicate Title became optional at this time because electronic conveyancing was designed to operate without a paper-based Title. There are now safer ways to verify a right to deal on a certificate of title to record or register an interest in the land other than possession of a Duplicate Title. We have been transitioning to this point for a long time and we have now established safer legal frameworks into the state and national electronic conveyancing networks and registration processes.

This change represents the next phase of the transition away from paper-based settlement processes.

Who has access to my land title information?

WA’s land titles register is, and always has been, an open, public searchable Register.

For a prescribed fee, anyone can continue to order a copy of a Certificate of Title to find current ownership and registered interest information for any property in Western Australia.

Information on historical records, Crown leases, surveys and documents which also form part of the land register, such as transfers, mortgages, easements and caveats, are available for searching. For assistance, email CustomerService@landgate.wa.gov.au

I am holding a paper Duplicate Title as security for a loan I made to a relative. What should I do?

Parties seeking to claim security over land should show their claim on the land Register by registration against the appropriate certificate of title if they want  to enforce priority over subsequent creditors. Registration is the key to enforcing a claim of security over land. Parties should consider obtaining advice from a qualified industry professional.

Change Two:  Enable the electronic service of statutory notices.

This change in legislation allows for the formal service of notices from the Registrar of Titles and the Commissioner of Titles to be served electronically such as via email.  This replaces the former limitation on sending formal notices by post or fax. These options for the service of notices will continue to be available as they are currently until caveators, registered proprietors and registered interest holders have the option and ability to provide an appropriate email address for service of notices for their address.

Change Three: Clarify the definition of counterpart documents.

This clarification will permit there to be small differences between the electronic and paper documents to account for the subtle and unavoidable differences in the paper and digital version of the same document (for example, physical signature versus digital signatures or where the paper digital documents are in different formats but still have the same provisions).

This provision will come into effect once there are corresponding regulations available.

Contact us

If you have feedback or questions which are not covered in the FAQs, please contact us at

Email: TLA.Amendments@landgate.wa.gov.au

If you are part of an industry group and would like us to present on the changes at an upcoming event from February 2023, please contact us at:

Email: TLA.Amendments@landgate.wa.gov.au

This page was last updated on: 22 Nov 2022