NSW Land Registry Services
A hotline has been set up for clients to contact us and talk through the challenges you may be facing. If you are in a financial bind, we will provide some initial guidance in relation to credit & finance, supply chain, insurance, restructuring, real estate and construction related matters so together we can work out what your best options are. The number is (02) 8281 7980. You can also visit our online COVID-19 resource page.
30 April 2020 - Irene Horan (updated 10/9/21)
The NSW Office of the Registrar General has released an update on their website about electronic execution of documents which are to be lodged with NSW Land Registry Services.
From 27 April 2020, changes to the Conveyancing Rules temporarily allow paper land dealings (for example leases and transfer granting easements), plans and Section 88B instruments to be signed electronically. Parties to the document could use electronic programs such as DocuSign to sign documents.
These documents may also be witnessed electronically using an audio visual link pursuant to the Electronic Transactions Amendment (COVID-19 Witnessing of Documents) Regulation 2020 which commenced on 22 April 2020.
Following electronic execution of the documents, your documents can be emailed to Bartier Perry and we will arrange for them to be lodged for registration.
Update: 97% of paper dealings are now eligible for electronic lodgement. The remainder of residual documents will be made available for electronic lodgement over the course of the year. The witnessing of important legal documents and the signing of dealings and plans are to continue electronically until 31 December 2021. You can read the full update on Registrar General’s website here.
8 April - Irene Horan
The NSW Office of the Registrar General here confirms that the PEXA client authorisation form can be signed electronically by the client during this period. In NSW this is permitted by section 107(1A) of the Real Property Act 1900.
It also re-confirms ARNECC’s statement that a face to face interview is not currently required for verification of identity purposes.
Your solicitor will be able to verify your identity remotely using technology, for example Skype or Zoom. They can also guide you on how to electronically sign documents using an electronic program such as DocuSign.
1 April 2020 - Julia Yassa
Registration of documents at NSW Land Registry Services
In light of the COVID-19 pandemic, we are seeing more and more people unwilling or unable (because they are working from home) to handle paper and original documents in the course of a property transaction.
While most aspects of the property industry facilitate the use of electronic signatures and digital documents to complete a transaction (see our previous article regarding the amendments to the Conveyancing Act 1919 by clicking here), NSW Land Registry Services (LRS) appears to be slower in making this transition.
Currently, the following LRS forms must be lodged for registration electronically through PEXA:
discharge of mortgage;
notice of death;
withdrawal of caveat.
A lease may also be lodged for registration electronically through PEXA (but this is not mandatory).
Accordingly, the above LRS forms do not need to be signed using “wet ink” signatures (that is, paper documents signed in ink).
Other than the LRS forms noted above, all other LRS forms must be signed using “wet ink” and cannot be electronically signed.
LRS may choose to relax the execution requirements for these LRS forms at some point, in light of the COVID-19 pandemic, but at the time of writing this, LRS have not yet done so.
This means that, despite the current lockdown measures, parties to some property transactions may still need to handle paper and original documents – which we appreciate may sometimes be difficult to do!
Plans of survey
A plan of survey is one which defines the boundaries of a parcel of land and creates its legal identity at the date of registration, such as deposited plans and strata plans.
These plans may be lodged at LRS electronically by surveyors.
In light of the COVID-19 pandemic, LRS has relaxed its requirements in relation to the execution of plans - if a plan is to be lodged electronically, it may also be executed electronically.
23 March 2020
Guidance from the Australian Registrars National Electronic Conveyancing Council (ARNECC) on what to do with face to face identity verification and signing of client authorisations as a result of COVID-19. To view click here.
The property team at Bartier Perry have significant experience in handling property transactions (both electronic and manual transactions) and are ready to assist any clients that may need help navigating these difficult times.