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Impact of Technology on Conveyancing in NSW

Kreisson Legal is committed to enabling efficient and smooth transactions.

Driven by advancements in technology, significant changes are taking place in the world of conveyancing.

Background

On 17 November 2014 the new Contract for Sale and Purchase of Land was released.

Whilst the majority of the standard clauses remain unchanged, the most significant change was the inclusion of Clause 30, which sets out the procedure and requirements of e-Conveyancing.

Issues covered in this clause include:

  • An option that the matter will proceed using electronic conveyancing;
  • a mechanism if the need arises for a party’s representative to notify the other party that the matter will need to default to the paper environment and the payment of fees and costs associated with that change;
  • How a party would usually create the workspace, populate the workspace with data and send certain invitations to join the workspace and the subsequent communications between the parties as they prepare for settlement;
  • Set timeframes for the serving of adjustment figures, completion of the financial settlement schedule and digital signing of all documents required for settlement; and

The effect of any problems with the computer systems of the Land Registry, the Reserve Bank of Australia or the electronic platform being inoperative at the completion time.

The LPI

The roll out of e-Conveyancing has been a staged process that will continue to incorporate more transactions as the population becomes familiar with its uses.

The NSW Land and Property Information office (LPI) advises:

“Property Exchange Australia (PEXA) was formed to fulfil a Council of Australian Governments (COAG) agenda item to deliver a national electronic conveyancing solution to the Australian property industry.

Supported by the NSW Government PEXA will enable industry participants to settle property transactions, lodge instruments with land registries, and pay associated duty and other disbursements.

Electronic conveyancing went live in New South Wales on 8 October 2013. The initial release provided functionality for financial institutions to lodge Mortgages and Discharges through the PEXA platform.

On 10 November 2014 the second release of electronic conveyancing expanded the range of functions to include financial settlement and the lodgement of transfers and caveats. This release allows subscribers such as solicitors and conveyancers to transact through PEXA. Legislation is pending in NSW Parliament that will introduce priority notices as part of our electronic conveyancing reforms.”

Subscribers

There are strict rules regarding the participation of subscriber. Compliance is monitored by LPI and PEXA. There are two (2) types of Subscribers:

  1. Principal Subscribers (banks and financial institutions) represent themselves; and
  2. Representative Subscribers (Solicitors and Licenced Conveyancers) represent other parties.

The added safety of only Lawyers or Licensed Conveyancers being able to access PEXA as Representative Subscribers ensures you have complete confidence that the party on the other side of your transaction is exactly who they say they are.

Obligations

By using PEXA, the obligations on solicitors are affected in various ways including:

  • Solicitor signing documents on behalf of clients – as the settlement process is electronic, we will attend to the electronic signing of Transfers, Mortgages, Discharges of Mortgages, Caveats and Withdrawal of Caveats.

We will require you to sign a client authorisation form to allow us to digitally execute the required documentation on your behalf.

The process is similar to you appointing a Power of Attorney, but without the requirement to be registered or when a solicitor executes the Transfer on behalf of the purchaser in paper transactions.

  • VOI – Verification of Identification (VOI) requires solicitors to ensure the identity of the clients. This can be done by one of three ways:
    • Attend our office or we attend yours;
    • Attend Australia Post; or
    • Arrange for ZipID to come to you.

International Clients can verify their ID at an Australian Consular Office

  • Electronic monies – The distribution of settlement funds is overseen by the Reserve Bank of Australia and are disbursed immediately, meaning Vendors receive their settlement proceeds the moment the matter settles.
  • Electronic Documents – There is no hard copy Certificate of Titles in an electronic settlement.

This means you don’t have any chance of losing or misplacing the documents. Any Certificate of Titles issued after 1 January 2004 can be transferred electronically. Any issued prior to 1 January 2004 will need to be produced to the LPI.

As settlements occur electronically, there is no limit to the number of transactions that can take place simultaneously. The physical restraints and delays are no longer applicable.

Further the requisitions on lodgements should be minimised as incompatible documents are not accepted.

What does this mean for me?

Using PEXA you have greater transparency of each transaction. In addition to access to an online portal where you have visibility of exactly what is happening in each stage of your matter, we will keep you informed and up to date on all of your matters by email or SMS.

Faster, safer, more efficient.

Another flexible option Kreisson offers to our clients to make life easier.

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