Bulletin No. 289 | 13 December 2016
Electronic lodgement of eligible documents
The Registrar of Titles will introduce new Registrar’s Requirements under Section 182A of the Transfer of Land Act 1893 requiring all eligible land registry documents to be lodged electronically through an electronic lodgement network such as the one operated by Property Exchange Australia (PEXA) in a phased implementation commencing 1 August 2017. The implementation dates are:
|From 1 August 2017||eligible commercial, stand-alone mortgages, discharges of mortgages and refinances|
|From 1 October 2017||eligible stand-alone transfers, caveats and withdrawal of caveats|
|From 1 December 2017||any lodgement case consisting of eligible discharges, transfers, mortgages, caveats and withdrawal of caveats.|
Eligible land registry documents are defined as the documents that support transactions that can be completed using the existing electronic lodgement network where all of the participants are or are able to become subscribers.
Transactions and document types not currently supported by the electronic lodgement network will be exempt from the Requirements at this time. Transactions involving self-represented parties and parties who are ineligible to become subscribers in PEXA will also be exempt.
All eligible transactions commenced after the dates detailed above will be required must be lodged electronically. Transactions in paper begun but not completed before these dates will be able to be completed under existing arrangements.
Concerns raised during the consultation period
During October and November 2016 Landgate sought input and feedback on its proposal to require all eligible land registry documents to be lodged electronically Stakeholder feedback was received at workshops and information sessions held in October and November, and in writing. The consultation identified a number of issues and concerns across three main areas; training and education, business processes and systems, and fees and costs. This feedback has been used to fine-tune plans for implementation.
Training and education
Stakeholders identified the following concerns in relation to training and education:
- lack of knowledge of the PEXA system
- time required to undertake training
- availability of training in regional areas
- low consumer awareness of the benefits of e-conveyancing
- the need for support for initial transactions until participants become comfortable in its use.
In response, Landgate will continue to work closely with industry representatives to promote awareness of the benefits of e-conveyancing and to support industry training and education initiatives. PEXA will continue to develop and refine its training and support for practitioners using the system. Any practitioner can contact them at any time via their website at www.pexa.com.au.
Business processes and systems
Issues around preparing for electronic lodgement in the area of business processes and systems included:
- meeting the technology requirements of transacting electronically
- the need to restructure business operations as reliance on paper reduces
- lack of time to adopt e-conveyancing and become comfortable in its use
- the need to run separate processes for paper and electronic during the transition period
- system security
- identifying ineligible transactions
- record keeping requirements
- gaining initial agreement from all parties to participate in an electronic transaction.
Landgate recognises that the transition to full paperless conveyancing will be disruptive and require a coordinated effort to implement the necessary process reforms. E-conveyancing has been in place for over 18 months and has been shown to be reliable and effective. Businesses that are already transacting electronically have demonstrated that these issues can be addressed. Landgate believes that accelerating take-up will allow business as a collaborative industry, to realise the broader benefits of e-conveyancing sooner and will continue to support industry representative associations to assist their members make the necessary adjustments.
Fees and Costs
The identified concerns around fees and costs included:
- extra costs for consumers to undertake an electronic transaction
- some settlement agents would like the electronic transaction fee to be classified as a ‘statutory fee’
- the level of investment required by low volume transactors.
The electronic transaction fee levied by the electronic network operator is not a regulated fee. Over time, as conveyancers adjust their business operations and the benefits of e-conveyancing begin to be realised, the cost of supporting paper transactions is expected to become more expensive and e-conveyancing more cost effective for customers.
Preparing for the change
Landgate is committed to working with representative industry associations and their members to make the transition to full paperless conveyancing.
We recommend that practitioners who are not already registered with the electronic network operator apply for registration at www.pexa.com.au as soon as possible. Confidence in the e-conveyancing system will build though use and all practitioners are encouraged to embrace the evolving electronic marketplace for property transactions and actively increase their use of the system between now and 1 August 2017.
The Registrars Requirements will be published as soon as practicable in early 2017.
For further information please contact Richard Gell, Manager Business Capability on (08) 9273 7530 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.