If you haven’t heard yet, from 1 October 2019 the Queensland titling system has become completely paperless. Certificate of titles in Queensland will no longer hold any relevance to land transactions or have any legal effect. This means, if you currently have a certificate of title, you no longer have to produce the certificate of title to the Titles Registry when submitting a transaction.

For the majority of people, this change will unlikely have any impact. For quite a number of years now, there has been a shift away from certificate of titles to electronic record. People most likely affected by the change will be people who have lent money to a land owner and has held the certificate of title as security for repayment of the loaned amount. These ‘lenders’ are classed as an equitable mortgagee and from 1 October 2019, they will no longer have that security and will need to secure their interest in the property by way of a registered mortgage.

If you currently hold a certificate of title for your property, you do not need to cancel or do anything else as this automatically occurred on 1 October 2019. The document you are holding can be kept for sentimental or historical value if you wish, but it has no legal effect for any other purpose.

The most common question with property owners is their concern that someone can change ownership of the electronic record without first producing the certificate of title. While this certainly remains a possibility (and there have been a limited number of times of this occurring), the Land Title Act 1994 has provisions to reverse transactions in the event of fraud. The most likely persons who will come under critical examination in cases of fraud will be the qualified witness noted in the transfer form. There has been an increase in the requirements for witnesses to ensure the identity of people (both buyers and sellers) when dealing with land transactions.

On an ending note, the good news is that losing a certificate of title is no longer the problem or the considerable expense it used to be. Losing or misplacing certificate of titles was a common problem, especially with long held properties – even banks lost them occasionally!