Australian e-conveyancing is on its way, offering practitioners the opportunity to transfer and settle property with no paper documents or certificates of title, no bank cheques and no physical attendance at settlement.
To some, it’s a stack of acronyms. For others, it’s the biggest reform since the introduction of the Torrens title system. So what do you need to know?
First, the acronyms
National e-Conveyancing Development Ltd (NECDL), set up in 2010 to kick-start the National Electronic Conveyancing System (NECS), has now become Property Exchange Australia Ltd (PEXA).
Now to PEXA
PEXA, a purpose-built electronic platform, is charged with facilitating the transfer and settlement of property online, which will be trialled by preselected practitioners in
New South Wales and Victoria in late October 2014, before the following national rollout in 2015:
- NSW and Victoria, from February, 2015
- Queensland, from April, 2015
- Western Australia, from May, 2015
- South Australia, Northern Territory and Tasmania, from mid to late 2015.
PEXA is also a proprietary company, made up of a number of shareholders including the Victorian, NSW, Queensland and WA governments, which constitute the largest shareholding. The four major banks are also shareholders, as are other investors such as Macquarie Capital.
“Subscribers” to PEXA comprise approved deposit institutions, licensed conveyancers, practitioners and government bodies, but not members of the public or real estate agents.
PEXA will enable subscribers to perform the following transactions together online:
- New mortgages
- Mortgage discharges
The first three standalone transactions are already being performed online by the four major banks, which joined PEXA in 2013, and a number of other financial institutions that joined in 2014. The first caveat was performed through PEXA on 17 June 2014 on a Victorian title.
Subscribing to PEXA
If you’re ready to get on board, you need to subscribe to PEXA. But you don’t pay a subscription, as it’s a pay-as-you-go system. It’s also not compulsory – a manual system will still be available.
You can register directly with PEXA for a face-to-face appointment, or through one of their four “sponsors”, and follow these five steps:
1. Fill out a registration form
2. Supply copies of your insurance and conveyancing or legal practising certificate
3. Verify your identification
4. Sign a participation agreement
5. Obtain a digital certificate
Moving to the online exchange brings a number of changes to a practitioner’s relationship with their client. The practitioner must verify the identity of their client and the client needs to sign an authorisation form for the practitioner to transact, and manage and finalise the settlement, on the client’s behalf.
Just picture it. All the funds have been verified and authorised, and all the related documents have been digitally signed and completed. Just sit back and let settlement proceed, at the scheduled date and time, automatically.
You don’t have to log in. You don’t even have to be in your office.
To find out more about how the e-conveyancing system will work, download the free guide Property settlement goes digital – everything you need to know about the conveyancing reforms.