There have been some recent changes in the way the Titles Registry deals with paper certificates of title (paper CTs) in Queensland, which aims to streamline and facilitates electronic conveyancing.
What is a certificate of title?
A paper Certificate of Title (paper CT), or a title deed, is a paper record showing the current owner and title particulars of a property. Before 1994, a paper CT existed for every property in Queensland and the paper CT was required in order to deal with the property, by sale, transfer, mortgage or otherwise.
However, from 1994 the Titles Registry converted to an electronic titles register and has not automatically issued paper Certificates of Title for property since then. A paper CT could only be obtained from the Titles Registry on request from a property owner. Currently only about 11% of properties in Queensland still have a paper CT in existence.
The main reason associated with obtaining a paper Certificate of Title was to ensure that further dealings with the property were not lodged (e.g. transfer of title, registration of mortgages, leases etc) unless the paper CT was deposited with that dealing. Paper CTs are also sometimes used as a form of security held by a lender to secure repayment of a loan or facility.
What is the change?
On 29 March 2019, The Land, Explosives and Other Legislation Amendment Act 2019 was passed in Parliament and amended a number of Acts, including the Land Title Act 1994. The amendments mean that from 1 October 2019, property owners will not be able to request a paper Certicate of Title from the Titles Registry and paper CTs will no longer have any legal effect.
Until 1 October 2019, the current laws that govern paper CTs remain in place. This means any property transactions where there is a paper CT, will still need that paper CT to be deposited.
If you have a paper Certificate of Title, you should store this in a safe place until the changes take place on 1 October 2019, after which the paper CT will become an item of sentimental value only and will no longer need to be deposited when a property dealing is lodged.
Where a paper CT is currently held as a form of security, we recommend that you make other arrangements as soon as possible before the changes take place. We can assist you with reviewing and amending your current finance agreements and seek alternative security such as mortgages, security interests and/or personal guarantees.