Imminent changes to conveyancing practice in Tasmania

March 1, 2024

Prepare for more rigorous requirements when dealing with Tasmanian land

With effect from 7 March 2024, lawyers and conveyancers will be required to collect and retain more information in relation to clients participating in lodgement of dealings at the Land Titles Office and comply with a more systematic approach to determine whether a particular client has a right to enter a transaction or lodge a particular dealing.

As a part of Tasmania’s transition to electronic conveyancing, the Recorder of Titles has issued a direction under section 160A of the Land Titles Act 1980, which updates the requirements applicable to the current ‘paper-based’ conveyancing system.

The direction brings in 3 practical changes from our clients’ perspective:

  • Verification of Identity: practitioners must either apply the nationwide Verification of Identity standard or take reasonable steps to verify the identity of their client. This will generally require as a first step, obtaining copies of passports and drivers’ licences for individual owners or directors of companies, and company searches and trust deeds (as applicable). There is also a requirement for a face-to-face meeting with each client.
  • Right to Deal: practitioners must take reasonable steps to reach the conclusion that their client actually has the right to deal with the land or enter the transaction. In the case of a purchaser, that is likely by confirming that they have signed the contract (by comparing signatures on the contract with the signature on their identification documents). It is more complex for vendors, because practitioners will need to verify that the vendors are the actual owners of the property in question. This may include, among other things, obtaining a copy of the most recent Rates or Land Tax notice in the name of the vendor, viewing an original certificate of title, checking whether the address of the vendor on their identification matches the address of the property, obtaining a bankruptcy search for individual vendors, viewing a copy of any lease which may be in place over the property, among other things. The exact enquiries which are reasonably required will be different depending on the particulars of the transaction.
  • Client Authorisation: once the above two requirements have been satisfied, the party must sign a client authorisation form, authorising the practitioner to assist the client with a particular transaction or group of transactions.

While this will no doubt be a change from the traditional approach in Tasmania, it is aimed at ensuring best practices across the profession are being adhered to, so that the Recorder of Titles can make further directions to remove the need for paper Certificates of Title and then to (finally) start electronic conveyancing in Tasmania.

This article includes general information only and is not specific to your situation. If you require assistance in relation to anything contained within this article, please contact us.

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Tim Cannon


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