End of an era for Certificates of Title in Western Australia
Times are changing in Western Australia in relation to your property!
From 7 August 2023, Landgate, Western Australia's land authority, will be abolishing duplicate Certificates of Title. This means that from that date onwards, your copy of your Certificate of Title will no longer be a legal document. It will instead become a document for historical purposes only.
What is the Certificate of Title?
The 'duplicate' Certificate of Title is the 'original' copy you receive when you buy your property. What most people think of as their 'original' copy is actually called a duplicate, because the true original title is always held by Landgate (the WA land authority).
Whilst it may seem concerning that you will no longer have a paper title document to prove your ownership of a property, all of this information is still kept by Landgate and a Record of Certificate of Title can be ordered from Landgate at any time.
What does this mean for me?
The change will be a good one. For years, time and money has been spent trying to locate (or having to replace) lost duplicate titles. Selling or transferring ownership of a home is stressful enough - people don't need the added stress of trying to track down a title that has possibly not been seen by them for many years. The 'safe place' where the document was stored is usually remembered months after the document was needed!
Abolishing the paper titles will remove a lot of stress and it makes the electronic property settlement process much more convenient for everyone and is a safer way for property transactions to occur.
Once the change is implemented, most people won't notice any change - because if you have a mortgage secured over your property, it is the bank who were holding onto your title anyway!
If you do have a duplicate Certificate of Title at home, you can still keep it. It doesn't need to be destroyed or returned to Landgate - and some people like to keep them for historical purposes - especially if you have one of the lovely, old parchment styles.
For most people, this change will be of no concern. It is only when you need to change ownership of your home that you will realise what has happened - and it will make life easier. Otherwise, you can just relax and continue on!