Tuesday, 16 April, 2019
In Australia, a number of the States have opted to rid themselves of the paper Certificates of Title, or CT, and rely only on an electronic Certificate of Title, or e-CT, for proof of ownership or other interests in land. Now, Queensland has followed suit.
For some time, Queensland has issued e-CTs by default, with an additional application required by anyone wanting to obtain a paper CT. Despite the availability however, only about 11% of titles in Queensland still have a paper CT. In passing legislation on 26 March 2019 to amend the Land Title Act 1994, the Queensland Parliament has decided that as of 1 October 2019, paper CTs will no longer be issued nor will any existing paper CTs have legal effect. Any existing paper CTs will hold only historic or sentimental value.
Previously, where a paper CT existed, no dealing could occur on the property unless the CT was surrendered to the Land Registry office. If the paper CT could not be located or had in fact been destroyed, an application was required to dispense with the production of the paper CT, with that application to then be decided by the Registrar of Titles based upon the evidence submitted in support. However, problems would arise particularly in dealing with deceased estates where the personal representatives did not have any knowledge about where the paper CT was located or about the circumstances that led to it being destroyed.
The legislation is a welcome change to property law in Queensland and supports the State’s inevitable progress toward transacting exclusively by electronic methods.
Author: Bruce Legal