New CEO and new property rules

Donohue & Co  > Hearsay, Publications >  New CEO and new property rules

This week we gave a warm welcome to our new Chief Executive Officer Simone Carton. Simone comes to us with over twenty years’ experience as a CEO, and also has a legal background which will serve her well in this new role.
On the Conveyancing front, this month marks the start of the new rules for registration of property transactions at the Land Titles Office.
Where the property no longer has a certificate of title, it is now a requirement (for the usual run of transactions – for example, Transfers) that the documents for registration be signed by the Practitioner on behalf of the actual parties to the transaction. Prior to doing so, the Practitioner must verify the identity of the party. This can be done direct by the Practitioner, or via an Identity Agent, such as the Post Office. The party must also sign an authority for the Practitioner, and that
authority must be verified by the Practitioner, or by the Identity Agent.
Does this sound onerous? Well, it is, and what makes it more onerous is that the Practitioner has the responsibility for ensuring the process is carried out exactly in accordance with the Rules. Failure to do so can ultimately have the Practitioner liable to any person suffering a resultant loss, and a disregard for the Rules could well amount to a conduct issue. Traditionally we used to have a “state guarantee” of the indefeasibility of title, but this is a not too subtle shift to have the Practitioner providing some of that guarantee.
Ultimately, though, the purpose of these changes is to move a step closer to the goal of electronic settlements, which will in the end be worth the trouble. There has always been a risk inherent in the current process of allowing a time interval between payment and lodgement for registration. It is intended to rectify this so we will have these two events occurring at virtually the same time, and thereby reducing the risk. NSW has had electronic settlements for years, so now we are catching up with them.