ConveyancingReal Estate

Land Titles in Australia

A South Australian man named Robert Richard Torrens introduced a new Land Title registration system to Australia during the 1850’s. The system in place at the time was based on the old British system which involved a series of land title deeds which covered the property’s past and present mortgage and ownership history. In most cases the quantities of paperwork would be large, awkward and inconvenient. According to many historians, these deeds were fastened with a pink or red tie, and is where the term “red tape” originated from.

Robert Torrens solution was fashioned from the way in which British shipping manifesto documents were managed. Two matching documents would be produced, and one would be the official record which was kept by Lloyds of London. The second copy would be held by the owner of the goods as proof.

The Torrens principle is the official system for property legislation in all states and territories in Australia and each state and territory has a central register of all land in that state. The registry shows the current owner of the land (also known as the deed or title holder) and also contains other information on the land such as mortgages, covenants, caveats and easements.

In regards to conveyancing, a major part of the process is conducting a title search. The main purpose of this is to identify the property and to confirm who the owner is. This ensures the legal documents are drawn up correctly and signed by the right people. There are various methods of investigating a title – title reference, volume and folio numbers, Lot and Survey/Deposited/Strata/Subdivision Plan. There are a number of other particulars that can be encountered when conducting a title search and each of these have an impact on the conveyancing process.

In addition to investigating title, we have to conduct due diligence on the property. We do this by ordering other certificates such as land and water information, land tax clearance, strata or owners corporation certificates. These do not form part of the title search but they do form part of the Vendor’s disclosure obligations and the Purchaser’s due diligence when buying a property. The search requirements will depend on which state or territory the property is located in, as each jurisdiction has differing laws relating to title searches. Examples of these additional searches include Owners Corporation Certificates (Strata Certificates), Council rates, Land tax and Water Rates. It is important to investigate these matters because it may tell you if your proposed use of the land is possible. Some examples include:

– An easement may prohibit further development

– You may have to give right of way to your neighbour because of a covenant or easement

– There may be a second mortgage on the property,

– Or someone may be claiming an interest in the property by lodging a caveat (this could potentially mean litigation to complete the sale).

Here at Titlexchange, our fixed-fee packages include all searches on the property, as well as any additional disbursements and legal fees. You can check out our standard packages and add-ons, or book a call with one of friendly team now.

For further information on the land registry in your state or territory, click the relevant link below.

ACT / NSW / NT / QLD / SA / TAS / VIC / WA

Please note that this article is meant as a general guide only and is not intended to be used as legal advice.