A certificate of title, also known as a land title or property title, is a legal document that proves ownership of a piece of land or property. This is a State issued document for each individual property allotment showing unique identification, current and former owners, mortgages, liens, caveats or any other encumbrances.
In most countries, a certificate of title is the main document that establishes who owns a property and serves as evidence of the property’s ownership. It is a crucial document that should be reviewed carefully before purchasing a property.
What information is on the certificate of title?
The certificate of title contains important information about the property, including the legal description of the property, the names of the current and previous owners, and any encumbrances or restrictions on the property. This information is recorded on a government-maintained register, which is accessible to the public.
The legal description of the property on the certificate of title includes the property’s street address, size, and boundaries. It is important that this description matches the property being purchased and that the boundaries are accurate, as any discrepancies can lead to disputes or legal issues in the future.
The certificate of title also lists the names of the current and previous owners of the property. This information is important for determining the property’s chain of title, which is the history of ownership of the property. A clear chain of title is necessary to ensure that the property is being sold by the rightful owner and that there are no outstanding claims on the property.
The certificate of title also includes information about any encumbrances or restrictions on the property. Encumbrances are legal claims on the property, such as mortgages or liens, that must be satisfied before the property can be transferred to a new owner.
Restrictions are limitations on the use of the property, such as zoning regulations or easements. It’s important to be aware of any encumbrances or restrictions on a property before purchasing it, as they can impact the property’s value and use.
When purchasing a property, it is important to conduct a thorough review of the certificate of title to ensure that the property is being sold by the rightful owner and that there are no outstanding encumbrances or restrictions on the property. This review is typically conducted by a lawyer or conveyancer and is a crucial step in the property purchasing process.
What happens to the Certificate of Title when my property is mortgaged?
When you take out a home loan to purchase a property (or refinance), the lender will require you to pledge the property as collateral (or more commonly called, security) for the loan. As part of this process, the lender will typically take possession of the certificate of title and register a mortgage on the title.
This means that the lender will be listed as a mortgagee on the certificate of title, and a notation will be made on the title to indicate that the property is subject to a mortgage.
The lender will hold the certificate of title as security for the loan, and it will be returned to you once the mortgage has been fully repaid. It’s important to note that a certificate of title is not always a physical document but can also be electronic and accessible through a government-maintained electronic register. Most states in Australia now have electronic certificates of title.
While the lender holds the certificate of title, they have a legal right to the property, and they can take possession of the property if you default on the mortgage loan. This means that if you fail to make your mortgage payments, the lender can foreclose on the property and sell it to recover their losses.
It’s important to keep in mind that having a mortgage on your property may affect your ability to sell the property or use it as collateral for other loans. Additionally, some lenders may require that you have a certain amount of equity in the property, which means that you will need to have paid off a certain percentage of the mortgage before you can sell the property or refinance the loan.
Who holds my Title?
The original document is retained by the relevant State Department for recording of all transactions and a copy Certificate of Title is issued to the current owner, with the certificate of title for a property held in a land title registry. The government agency responsible for maintaining the land title registry varies from state to state, but it is usually the state’s land registry or land titles office.
In most states, the certificate of title is held electronically, and the land title registry is maintained by the government’s land registry or land titles office. The certificate of title is the official record of the property’s ownership, and it is accessible to the public.
When you purchase a property, the transfer of ownership is registered with the land title registry, and the new owner’s name is added to the certificate of title. If you take out a mortgage to purchase the property, the lender will also register their interest on the certificate of title as a mortgagee. This means that the lender has a legal claim on the property as security for the loan, and the title is held by the government, but the lender’s interest is registered on it.
Where can I find the title in each state?
Website links for the land registry or land titles office in each state of Australia where you can view or obtain your certificate of title:
- New South Wales: https://www.nswlrs.com.au/Access-Titling-Information
- Victoria: https://www.land.vic.gov.au/
- Queensland: https://www.titlesqld.com.au/title-searches/
- South Australia: https://www.landservices.com.au/publications-and-reports/get-a-copy-of-your-certificate-of-title
- Western Australia: https://www.landgate.wa.gov.au/
- Tasmania: https://www.thelist.tas.gov.au/app/content/home
- Northern Territory: https://nt.gov.au/property/land/get-or-change-a-land-title/get-a-copy-of-your-land-title-certificate
- Australian Capital Territory: https://actlis.act.gov.au/
A certificate of title is a legal document that proves ownership of a piece of land or property. It contains important information about the property, including the legal description, names of the current and previous owners, and any encumbrances or restrictions on the property.
Reviewing the certificate of title is an important step in the property purchasing process and can help ensure that the property is being sold by the rightful owner and that there are no outstanding claims on the property.