During the process of buying or selling, your conveyancer will order an electronic copy of the Certificate of Title – often referred to as a ‘CT’.  A Certificate of Title is a person’s official land ownership record, and notes interests and rights affecting their land. The Certificate of Title is issued by the Registrar of Titles to the person who is entitled to it. It will show:

  • The owner of the land (otherwise known as the ‘registered proprietor’) if the property is unencumbered, which means there is no mortgage or other dealings over the property;
  • The registered proprietor’s mortgagee if there is a  mortgage over the property;
  • Caveats, easements or by laws; or
  • Encumbrances, Land Management Acts, Liens or any court orders etc.

The Certificate of Title is particularly important when a person is looking at selling their property. The CT gives your conveyancer information as to which entities may be a party to the settlement. When you are selling a property you will have to have a Form 1 prepared by a conveyancer, which is provided by the agent or the vendor to prospective purchasers; in a straightforward sale this is provided during the cooling off period. With an auction, there is no cooling off, and you will legally be entitled to the CT/Form 1 at least three full days prior to the Auction Date.

In the old days… (before electronic settlements)

Before paper titles were abolished, two copies were produced; the duplicate copy would go to the Registered Proprietor of the land, and the original  would remain at the Land Titles Office. At the settlement of your matter (sale, purchase, transfer) the duplicate copy of the Certificate of Title was to be handed over to the purchaser’s conveyancer to enable them to provide the same to the Land Titles Office to lodge with the Transfer document. The Transfer document is a document that changes the ownership of the land from the current owners’ names over to the person who has purchased the property. Without the CT, the Land Titles Office was unable to lodge the Transfer and change their records to the new ownership – of course you want your new property to be in your name?

If you were looking to sell and you did not have a mortgage over your property, your conveyancer would recommend that you locate your original Certificate of Title as this was required to complete your sale. If you had misplaced your original it was important that you made your conveyancer aware of this straight away so they could arrange to apply for a replacement on your behalf as this process was quite lengthy and costly.

Now… (with electronic settlements)

Settlements are now conducted electronically mainly via the PEXA platform  at present with other electronic platforms becoming available in the future. This does not mean that the Certificate of Titles are any less important. Your conveyancer is required to check the details on the copy of the Certificate of Title pending settlement. This enables them to enter this information into the electronic platform and the Transfer is then lodged in the Land Titles Office electronically. Your conveyancer is legally required to hold this information for a minimum of 7 years.

Duplicate Certificates of Title are no longer issued and all information is now held electronically at the Land Titles Office.  So if you still have an old title in your possession it is yours to keep as it no longer has to be produced for settlement. Some of the old titles were quite impressive and worth framing as a keepsake.

How do I obtain a copy òf my Certificate of Title?

You can get a copy of your Certificate of Title online through SAILIS. All you have to do is type SAILIS into your search bar, continue as a guest user, and under the ‘Land Search’ menu option, select ‘Register Search’. After entering your address details, this will provide you a copy of the Certificate of Title and associated dealings, for a fee.

The team at McKay Business Services are all members of the AICSA and are proud Adelaide conveyancers