Electronic land transactions
The amending legislation removes obstacles that have prevented a fully electronic conveyancing process, from contract through to settlement and, also provides greater flexibility to parties using electronic land contracts and deeds.
New provisions modernise and give flexibility to conveyancing transactions by confirming that land contracts, registry instruments and deeds can be formed electronically. People will still be able to sign paper contracts with wet-ink signatures if they choose, but the legislation introduces a more effective alternative for those wishing to transact electronically.
Electronic sale of land contracts and digital disclosure
The Conveyancing Act 1919 has been amended to confirm that land contracts can be formed electronically and that traditional requirements for land contracts to be in writing can be satisfied electronically. If a sale of land contract is in electronic form, then those documents which must be attached to the contract to satisfy vendor disclosure obligations may also be in electronic form.
Deeds can be made electronically
New provisions confirm that deeds may be signed and witnessed electronically, removing traditional restrictions on the type of substance on which deeds may be written (historically, deeds had to be formed on paper or parchment). This change will apply to all deeds, not only those relating to land. Electronic signing of deeds will be an option but not a requirement.
Land registry instruments and supporting documents
Where a registry instrument (like a mortgage) is lodged for registration, any other document supporting that instrument may be signed electronically. For mortgages in particular, amendments clarify that a mortgage is acceptable for registration in NSW where signed by the mortgagee alone (that is, not also signed by the borrower and witnessed), provided that the mortgagee certifies that it holds a mortgage granted by the mortgagor on the same terms as that which is lodged for registration.
Electronic services of notices
Section 170 of the Conveyancing Act which provides for methods by which notices under the Act may be served has been expanded to permit service by email to an address specified by the person to be served for the service of notices of that kind.
If you are interested in further information or advice, please contact Rockliff Snelgrove Lawyers on (02) 9299 4912.