eCTs: The Way of the Future
Written by Gabriella Ferraro
Edited by Omruye Koyu
In early 2017, Victoria’s land registry, Land Use Victoria, announced its transition to digital only lodgements by 1 August 2019, with limited exceptions. This means all property dealings and settlements, including purchases and sales are to be conducted on PEXA (‘Property Exchange Australia’). PEXA is the electronic lodgement network operator that facilitates property transactions.
With the introduction of e-Conveyancing comes the electronic Certificate of Title, or ‘eCT’. The eCT will replace the traditional paper certificate of title in Victoria and most other states and territories in Australia.
Whilst you may still hold a paper title if you own your home without a mortgage, PEXA have been working with leading bank institutions since 2016 to convert all paper Certificates of Title held by major banks to eCTs. The four major banks (ANZ, CBA, NAB and Westpac) hold approximately two million Certificates of Title in Victoria. All eCTs held by the four major banks now have the relevant bank recorded as the eCT control – the party entitled to control the eCT.
Many of our clients have been concerned about the changes but there are benefits in having an eCT over a paper Title, some of which include:
1. the removal of risk of losing paper Certificate of Title. The replacement of a lost Title can be an expensive endeavour and eCTs will remove the need to replace a lost Title;
2. it is cheaper to store and retrieve an eCT compared to paper Certificates of Title; and
3. there is increased security against fraudulent transactions.
Once your paper Title has been converted to an eCT, it will need to be held by an eCT Controller, typically a bank or solicitor as the eCT Control may be held by any PEXA Subscriber.
For peace of mind and although it is not necessary, for many of our clients, we suggest they retain the final title search showing completion of all dealings for their records.
If you have any questions or wish to discuss any property dealings you may have, please do not hesitate to contact our office.