The Latest Step in Modernising Land Transactions: Abolition of Duplicate Titles

Duplicate Certificates of Title (Duplicate Title) have performed a pivotal role in land transactions in Western Australia for longer than many in the property industry can remember; a paper copy of the Certificate of Title over a property which needed to be produced at Landgate for many dealings with land to be registered.

In years gone by, it was common for lenders and others wishing to secure their interest in land to take comfort in their having possession of the Duplicate Title, preventing landowners from disposing of the property until the loan or other debt had been repaid. However, since becoming optional in 1996 the use of Duplicate Titles has declined dramatically.In 2021, 99% of property transactions involving a mortgage did not have a Duplicate Title issued. The reason for this is simple with the advent of electronic filing and electronic titles, securely storing Duplicate Titles was a waste of space, time and money. Since commencing in 2015, electronic conveyancing has become the standard process for settlement of property transactions in Western Australia. As part of this transition to a completely electronic conveyancing process, the use of Duplicate Titles is set to be abolished from 7 August 2023. From 7 August 2023, Duplicate Titles will have no legal effect and will no longer need to be produced for land title dealings. This change will further modernise and simplify property conveyancing transactions in Western Australia, doing away with the need for lost title applications and the corresponding administrative burden on landowners, conveyancers, lawyers and Landgate alike.

This change does however present a risk to all those people taking comfort in their having possession of a Duplicate Title by way of security over their interest in property.

If you or someone you know is currently holding a Duplicate Title to protect your interest and your interest is not otherwise reflected on the Certificate of Title by caveat, mortgage, registration or otherwise, you need to take action to secure your interest in the property as soon as possible.

If you hold a Duplicate Title and your interest in the property is secure, you do not need to take any action such as returning it to Landgate or having it destroyed. It may be kept as a historical keepsake.

If you require assistance in relation to any of the information provided above, please contact Pragma Lawyers by emailing or call on (08) 6188 3340.

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