Property law is crammed with ‘Cs’ – contract, conveyancing, caveat − and everyone’s favourite of the last 18 months, COVID-19. One important word starting with C that everyone should be aware of is cessation, or to be exact, cessation day, when the NSW property space will do away with certificates of title (CTs) for good.

From cessation day, 11 October 2021, CTs will no longer be part of the NSW land title system, signifying the exciting completion of the Office of the Registrar General’s transition to 100% electronic conveyancing (eConveyancing). This date marks two significant changes; the cancellation of both CTs and the ‘control of the right to deal’ (CoRD) framework, and the move to electronic-only lodgment of all land titles transactions.

Historically, a person’s right to deal with land has been dependent on that person being able to produce a paper CT, listing them as proprietor. Where the land is unencumbered, the proprietor also held CoRD, or the authority to consent to any changes in registered interest in the land. In the case of encumbrance, for example by mortgage, the proprietor still held the right to deal, however the financial institution held CoRD and had to consent to certain changes to interests listed on the CT, such as change in proprietor.

So, what will cessation day look like for homeowners in NSW? Well, if you have a home loan, it’s likely that you haven’t had a ‘paper CT’ since September 2018. For those who own their home outright, their paper CT will be abolished from cessation day and that piece of A4 paper can be stored, destroyed, or turned into a paper airplane, as it will no longer hold any legal effect.

When it comes to determining an individual’s ownership status and ‘right to deal’, NSW land titles will rely on their own database, the Torrens Title Register. In future, your legal representative will be required to take steps to verify your identity and your ‘right to deal’.

It is therefore timely to remind NSW homeowners to ensure their primary identification documents (including passport and driver licence) are current and the names that appear on each document match the name recorded as proprietor of the property. Failure to do so can cause significant delay when the time comes to sell or purchase property in NSW.

How can we help?

When dealing with property law, it’s important to have the right team behind you.

Whether you are buying or selling a property in the ACT or NSW, our experienced property team can assist you through the process. You can contact us on 02 6285 8000 or by email.