E - Conveyancing

On 4 July 2016, “electronic conveyancing” (also known as “e-conveyancing”) was introduced in South Australia. 

This is the process whereby conveyancing practitioners can elect to settle a transaction electronically through the online platform provided by Property Exchange Australia Ltd (PEXA).

This platform allows practitioners to, amongst other things:

  • view and complete Lands Title Office (LTO) documents online to conclude the property exchange or transaction;
  • In the near future, lodge LTO documents needed to register changes in property ownership and interests; and
  • settle all financial transactions electronically at a nominated date including payment of settlement monies, duties, taxes and any other disbursements.

 

Benefits of E-Conveyancing

The benefits of e-conveyancing are:

  • Time and cost efficiencies.  For example, there is same day registration of ownership (currently this can take 4-6 weeks under the ‘manual’ system) ;
  • Sale proceeds distributed to accounts in real time (no waiting for 3 days for bank cheque clearance)
  • No requirement for physical documentation at settlement; and
  • No requirement for parties or practitioners to physically attend settlements.

 

Verification of Identity and Client Authorisation

In order for practitioners to be able to complete e-conveyancing transactions, they must, amongst other things:

  • Verify the identity of each party to the transaction (typically by sighting a copy of that party’s passport and driver’s licence); and
  • Obtain a Client Authorisation from their client which authorises the practitioner to act on their behalf in the transaction.

What Transactions Can Be Completed With E-Conveyancing?

Through PEXA, parties are now able to complete and lodge a variety of documents electronically.  This includes but is not limited to Transfers of Land, Mortgages, Discharges of Mortgages, Caveats and Withdrawal of Caveats.

 

Other Changes

As part of the introduction of e-conveyancing in South Australia:

  • The LTO no longer issues a duplicate Certificate of Title.  In its place, practitioners are provided with a Confirmation of Registration certificate and the original Title is stored electronically with the LTO.
  • A subscription service called “Title Watch” has been introduced by the LTO.  Parties can now sign up and nominate themselves or someone on their behalf to receive notifications via email or SMS from the LTO if there is any activity detected on their property.  The ordering of any searches or the lodgement of any dealings against their property will trigger one of these notices to be sent to them.

 

Expected Further Changes

Once the national mortgage documents are on PEXA and most of the banks are processing documents on PEXA, it is thought that the banks will pressure most solicitors and conveyancers to settle electronically.

 

Clelands Lawyers and PEXA

Our Adelaide office and regional office are both registered for PEXA.  If you require any assistance please do not hesitate to contact our registered conveyancers, Libby Abbot and Veronique Babczynski.