The Changing landscape of Conveyancing

Published On: 8 December 2019
Over last 5 years, our industry has seen a number of major changes since the adoption of the Torrens Title system in 1858.
Torrens Title

The Torrens Title is proudly a South Australian invention that revolutionised the method of recording and registering land ownership. The purpose was to provide certainty, or indefeasibility, of title to land.

The Torrens Title is named after its inventor, Sir Robert Torrens, who was instrumental in the implementation of this unique and efficient system of dealing with land. It was his desire to replace and improve the old English land law system that was complex, expensive and time consuming.

Certificate of Title

Under this system, the Certificate of Title for every piece of land contains a volume and folio number, ownership details, easements and/or rights of way, any encumbrances including mortgages, leases and other interests in land.

A record of all Torrens Title properties are held by the Land Titles Office (LTO) and a potential buyer can now check the records for any property through their website, SAILIS.

Abolishing paper Titles

Recent amendments to the Real Property Act 1886 have fundamentally changed the way a property conveyance is completed. The catalyst for these changes was the introduction of Electronic Conveyancing on 4 July 2016 and the associated reforms allowing documents to be lodged electronically.

This was a pivotal change. It brought about the abolishment of the paper Certificate of Title and the introduction of verification of identity and authority to deal with the land and the associated requirements. The approved Electronic Lodgement Network Operation (ELNO) in SA became PEXA, necessitating new processes and procedures being adopted along with new software, systems and training to be completed by Conveyancing professionals.

Electronic Conveyancing

Electronic Conveyancing has been a steep learning curve and seen a relatively slow uptake in SA. This could be mainly due to the LTO continuing to run a dual process, with manual paper settlements still in existence. Since July 2018, Strathalbyn Conveyancing has been using PEXA as the preferred method of settling property transactions.

In May this year our office hit a milestone of 100 online transactions, and in December we have hit the next major milestone of 200! It is great to see that PEXA settlements are being more readily accepted by fellow practitioners.

The most important benefits of online settlements is the time and costs saved in dealing with banks, not having to travel to the Land Titles Office in Adelaide and wait in line, having cleared funds available to vendors and faster registration for purchasers.

As the industry continues to evolve, our team at Strathalbyn Conveyancing are constantly updating and training to be able to provide the best possible service and knowledge to our clients, now and in the future.