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Where have all the titles gone?

Where have all the titles gone?

By Julie Barkla
December 13, 2016

Victorians have long been encouraged to treat their Certificate or Certificates of Title as they would cash, keeping these valuable documents in a bank vault or with their solicitors. It may come as a surprise to them, therefore, to discover that on Saturday 22 October 2016, if they had a mortgage registered on their title by any of the four major banks (ANZ, Commonwealth Bank of Australia, National Australia Bank and Westpac), their paper title became worthless and entirely obsolete.

On 22 October 2016, all paper titles with first mortgages registered by the Big Four were cancelled and converted by Land Victoria to electronic Certificates of Title.

The most contentious aspect of this move was that it did not apply only to paper titles actually held by the four major banks. Apparently the logistics of the Big Four determining the particulars of the titles they held were somewhat problematical. The implication of this “bulk conversion”, however, will be that many property owners who have historically received their paper Certificates of Title from one of the four major banks, together with a Discharge of Mortgage from the bank, but have not attended Land Victoria to have the Discharge registered, will now find themselves in the invidious position of holding a useless paper title, with control of the replacement electronic Certificate of Title having reverted to their long since repaid bank.

The anecdotal evidence as to how Land Victoria is assisting and accommodating these property owners, or the Executors of the Estates of these property owners, where they are now deceased, has not been terribly promising.

For further information, please contact Julie Barkla.