The transition to electronic conveyancing in NSW is speeding up.
On February 28 the state government announced its commitment to a detailed timetable for a full transition from conventional conveyancing as we know it to electronic conveyancing by July 2019, following extensive industry consultation.
Over the past few years there has been a slow introduction of electronic property transactions in NSW.
However, as of March 1, 2017, certain transactions must be conducted electronically and by July 1, 2019, NSW will have a completely paperless system.
The transition is being implemented in two stages:
Stage 1 – From March 1, 2017, major financial institutions are required to lodge certain mortgages and discharges of mortgage electronically and will be issued with “e-titles” rather than paper certificates of title.
Stage 2 – By July 1, 2019, all standard property transactions in NSW will be conducted electronically and all paper certificates of title will be cancelled and replaced with e-titles.
An initiative of the Council of Australian Governments (COAG), “e-conveyancing” is a wholly electronic method of effecting a conveyancing transaction intended to operate nationally.
The conventional system of conveyancing used throughout Australia involves face-to-face meetings between lawyers, conveyancers and banks and the physical exchange of documents and bank cheques.
The e-conveyancing system allows parties to lodge documents and complete transactions together online.
The movement of e-conveyancing aims to minimise time and costs and to decrease the stress that is involved in the paper process.
Each transaction is recorded in real time, meaning that each party is able to check the progress of the conveyance at each stage.
According to the Law Society of NSW, the reforms are designed with the customer in mind.
Time-consuming and costly practices such as creating, moving and storing hard copy title documents, face-to-face settlement meetings, bank cheques and manual lodgments will no longer be necessary.
The NSW plan to phase out paper-based conveyances completely by 2019 and similar intentions in Queensland, Victoria, South Australia and Western Australia certainly demonstrate a clear intention for e-conveyancing to be the primary practice of transacting property in Australia in the very near future.