The Practical Effects Of The Queensland Econveyancing Mandate
Victoria, New South Wales, South Australia and Western Australia have made eConveyancing mandatory for certain lantitle transactions, and Queensland is soon to follow. The new Land Title Regulation 2022 will commence in early 2023 and replace the current Land Title Regulation 2015 in Queensland. The Regulation reflects the existing position in several other states and reflects modern conveyancing practises by introducing mandatory electronic conveyancing (eConveyancing) for property transactions.
BACKGROUND – E-CONVEYANCING
Electronic conveyancing (or eConveyancing) is settling a conveyancing or property transaction electronically through an Electronic Lodgement Network Operator (‘ELNO’).
eConveyancing offers substantial benefits and efficiencies and replaces many paper and manual processes presently used in conventional property transactions.
Some eConveyancing benefits include:
- Confirmation of registration and lodgement – you will receive instant confirmation of your lodgement and be alerted once the transaction is settled
- Financial settlement – the ability to settle transactions securely and pay disbursements and fees
- Requisitions – verifications and checks built into the eConveyancing system should significantly minimise the number of requests
- Number of settlements – you can settle multiple transactions at the same time
THE E-CONVEYANCING MANDATE AND WHEN IT TAKES EFFECT:
From 20 February 2023, according to the Land Title Regulation 2022 (‘LTR’), Electronic conveyancing (or eConveyancing) is mandatory in Queensland. Certain documents and instruments (‘Required Instruments’) must be digitally prepared, signed and lodged using an Electronic Lodgement Network unless there is a recognised exception or exclusion.
Subscribers can lodge the required instruments or documents with either of the two approved ELNOs in Queensland – Property Exchange Australia Limited and Sympli Australia Pty Ltd. Please note that not all the necessary instruments are available through each ELNO, and each party to the transaction must use the same ELNO.
A crucial part of e-conveyancing is that law firms and financiers must identify their clients. Identification requires a minimum level of original photo identification and a face-to-face meeting to confirm that the client’s identity corresponds with their identification. Potential sellers and buyers (including directors of companies in commercial transactions) should be considering now whether:
- they have sufficient original identification to satisfy the verification of identity requirements (see below)
- all identification “matches”, e.g. the same name appears on all documents and is spelled correctly and consistently
- the identification is current
Under the current REIQ Contracts, eConveyancing is only eligible if all parties agree. Once that agreement is reached, a party may withdraw from an electronic settlement up to 5 business days before the scheduled settlement date. However, once the mandate comes in, the electronic settlement will be compulsory for all dealings and documents approved for eConveyancing unless an exception applies.
Under section 4 of the LTR, the types of documents that are defined as Required Instruments and must be lodged via eConveyancing include:
- Transfer documents
- Mortgage documents
- Priority notices
- Withdrawal of priority notices
- Extension of priority notices
- Withdrawal of Caveats
- Applications to be registered as a personal repetitive for an owner of a property who has deceased
EXCEPTIONS AND EXCLUSIONS in E-CONVEYANCING:
However, not all Required Instruments can or are permitted to be lodged using an Electronic Lodgement Network (ELN).
Under section 5(2) of the LTR, electronic lodgement is exempt where:
(a) the instrument cannot be prepared using an ELNO due to the ELN not having the functionality to lodge such an instrument
(b) the Land Registry does not have the functionality to accept and process the instrument
(c) on the day of lodgment, an instrument is not lodged due to circumstances beyond the subscriber’s control
(d) another instrument that cannot be electronically lodged is lodged with the Required Instrument
(e) the instrument is lodged by a person who is not a subscriber to an ELNO and does not have a law firm acting for them.
Further, you can find additional general exclusions to eConveyancing on the Title’s Qld website. These exclusions may include where the registered owner is a minor or has a name suffix.
If exempted, it is possible to lodge paper documents instead. If a party has executed a property transaction the mandatory commencement date, the transaction can still be paper lodged.
RAMSDEN LAWYERS – PRACTICAL EFFECTS AND HOW WE CAN HELP
At Ramsden Lawyers, we believe in doing everything possible to ensure seamless property transactions.
As a firm that prioritises innovation to ensure our clients receive the best customer service experience possible, we are pleased to see Queensland aligning with other states and territories regarding eConveyancing.
We understand that buying and selling property can be some of the most stressful times in people’s lives, and we aim to take the stress out of the event so that people can enjoy their new property and move on with their life.
If you are a self-lodger, you will not be required to use eConveyancing. However, if you are a subscriber to an ELNO or have engaged a law firm, your transaction will need to be conducted using eConveyancing.
At Ramsden Lawyers, we subscribe to eConveyancing through approved ELNO, Property Exchange Australia Ltd more commonly referred to as PEXA.
Please contact us to find out more about the mandate or for assistance with your conveyancing or property transaction.
This article’s content is intended to provide general guidance on the subject matter and must not be relied on as legal advice. You should seek specific advice about your circumstances.