Verification of Identity (VOI)

VOI requirements are set by the Registrar-General, Version 8 being the most recent update to the requirements in April 2021.

A face-to-face meeting is required between the person being identified and the Verifier or their Agent. Verifier Agents can be solicitors, conveyancers or other reputable or competent persons who have the required level insurance to allow them to undertake VOI as an Agent.

VOI appointments are usually held at your conveyancer’s office. If it is difficult or inconvenient to get to your conveyancer’s office there are external parties, such as Australia Post and Zip ID who can act as a Verifier Agent on the conveyancer’s behalf. Australia Post and Zip ID charge a fee for this service. Once you’ve advised your conveyancer which Agent you prefer to use they will send you the relevant documents which will need to be taken to your appointment, along with your ID.

At McKay Business Services, most of our clients attend our office but we understand that this is not always possible and we use Australia Post as our external verifiers agent.  Notwithstanding this provision, we still prefer to meet our clients face-to-face because it is nice to put a face to a name!

VOI requirements have been introduced across Australia in order to disrupt attempted fraudulent transactions and also to allow settlements to take place in an electronic environment instead of a paper document-based system. Conveyancers must now certify that they have established the identity of the particular party to the transaction and the Registrar-General conducts audits to ensure that this is being done correctly. Failure to properly identify a party can result in fines and/or a loss of the Conveyancing License. At McKay Business Services we take this responsibility very seriously.

Original identification documents must be produced to the verifier at the face-to-face meeting. The Registrar-General requires that particular categories of documents be produced as evidence of identity. They include Passports, Drivers’ Licenses, Proof of Age Cards, Birth and Marriage Certificates and  Medicare Cards. Visa Grant Notices will also be required to confirm residency status. There must be at least ONE form of Photographic evidence produced. If the client does not have sufficient identity documentation and cannot obtain any, it is still possible to identify them. In these cases they may ask someone who knows them  (who is not a relative) to complete a Statutory Declaration and attend our office with their own ID documents and with the client to identify them.

The types of ID which are required are details in the Verification of Identity information Sheet.

Verification of Authority (VOA)

The Verification of Authority requirement was introduced in South Australia (SA) in July 2016 and now as part of the settlement process The Real Property Act 1886 (the Real Property Act) it is a requirement that legal practitioners and conveyancers verify their clients’ authority to be a party to the instruments authorised by or under a client authorisation.

These requirements were introduced to mitigate the risk of land title fraud in SA, and to provide confidence to other parties that they are dealing with a person who has authority to enter into the transaction. The guidelines require that “reasonable steps” are taken to verify authority. Verifying a person’s authority in accordance with the guidelines requires inspection of supporting documents that connect the person to the land which is being conveyed, or which otherwise show their authority to be a party to the instrument. The supporting documents to be inspected will vary depending on the circumstances. To verify authority in accordance with the guidelines, it will be necessary to take steps to verify authority that would reasonably be expected to take in the circumstances and in the ordinary course of the legal practitioners and/or conveyancers business.

 When Is Verification of Authority Required?

Your representative must verify your authority before a conveyancing transaction is lodged with the Lands Titles Office. It applies to both paper instruments and documents under the Real Property Act.

What Is a Conveyancing Transaction?

A conveyancing transaction is a transaction that involves one or more parties and the purpose is to create, transfer, dispose, mortgage, charge, lease or deal with in any other way an estate or interest in land, or get something registered, noted, or recorded in the Titles Register, or have the registration, note, or record of something in the Titles register changed, withdrawn, or removed.

Acting for a Vendor

At Mckay Business Services if we are acting on behalf of a vendor then we will request at least two of the following items as confirmation of ownership to meet the VOA requirements:

Council Rates, SA Water Account and ESL or Land Tax Accounts and or other utilities. We are required to retain a copy of these documents for a period of 7 years.

If you are acting on behalf of another party, then documentary proof of the authority allowing you to sign will be required such as a power of attorney, guardianship order etc.

Acting for a Purchaser

If we are acting on behalf of the purchaser then the requirements are different.  The contract is deemed an acceptable form of VOA and finance approval is another.  In the event that finance is not required then due diligence is required to make sure that the transaction is bona fide

For transactions such as caveats, your representative must determine whether a caveatable interest exists. Documents relevant for a caveat may include a loan agreement (inclusive of a charging clause), a copy of a Will demonstrating you as a named beneficiary, or an agreement as purchaser under an agreement for sale. The list is not exhaustive, and reliance on one document alone is unlikely to satisfy the requirement to take ‘reasonable steps’.

 Do I have to have my authority verified?

Yes you do!  As failure to verify the authority of a party to a conveyancing transaction is a contravention of the Real Property Act.  All mortgagees, conveyancers, and legal practitioners must ensure they take reasonable steps to verify the authority of their clients.

We as your representative will not proceed with a transaction if you do not provide us with the relevant documents for the verification of authority.  Call McKay Business Services on 08 8333 3525 and we would be happy to further explain the process and requirements.

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