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Stuart Barnett is our mining industry’s leading personal injury lawyer. This month he has some important advice about the cancellation of Certificates of Title.

Last year I foreshadowed the demise of the “paper” certificate of title and changes to conveyancing. Generally speaking, in NSW to date, the owner of land demonstrated that they owned the land by being the registered proprietor on a physical certificate of title and it was a document that you held in your possession or that you gave to your mortgagee when you borrowed money.

The Registrar General has announced that from 11 October 2021 all Certificates of Title will be cancelled, and new certificates of title will not be issued. This has been a phased course of action so some people may already have been contacted by their mortgagee regarding this issue.

For many years what is called The Torrens Title Register has been the single place where land ownership is recorded, and it will continue to be. The Register is maintained by the NSW Land Registry Service and is backed up by the NSW Registrar General’s office.

From a practical point of view this means that a landowner will no longer receive a physical certificate of title when they buy land for cash or when they pay off their mortgage or in other circumstances, for example when they subdivide land. What the landowner will receive following a transaction is a notice confirming that the dealing or transaction has been recorded.

Consequently, a Certificate of Title is no longer a legal document. So, if you hold a certificate of Title there is nothing you need to do.

If your Certificate of Title is held by an institution, for example your Mortgagee or by someone else and you would like to have it in your possession for historical reasons then you will need to retrieve it from whoever holds it.

If you are a party to an unregistered Mortgage or holding someone else’s Certificate of Title as security over a loan, then the Certificate of Title no longer has any meaning, and you need to make alternative arrangements in respect of the security for the loan.

This is general advice and because your individual circumstances will vary I recommend seeking out specific advice for your needs.

Stuart Barnett

Slater & Gordon Lawyers

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