Electronic Conveyancing in New Zealand

Electronic Conveyancing in New ZealandNew Zealand is instrumental and one of the leading countries in the world to embrace Electronic Conveyancing. The Transfer of Land Act 1952 was amended in 2002 to allow the introduction of electronic lodgement for title transactions with remote electronic lodgement for Conveyancers and Surveyors, with electronic registration of dealings commencing in 2003. The system is called Landonline, and is administered by Land Information New Zealand (LINZ).

What does the system entail?

The Government and Land Information New Zealand publicly announced that paper-based lodgement of property transactions would be phased out from February 2006 and the move to 100% electronic lodgement via Landonline would be phased in. The final milestone was reached on 23 February 2009 when e-lodgement of title transactions became mandatory, with the exception of those where original signatures are requried, e. g. court orders.

An eDealing, or the actual process of creating and lodging an electronic dealing is made up of the following steps:

create the dealing prepare the dealing certify and sign it prevalidate the dealing settle and release submit and register

Electronic templates are created in a shared workspace where many details relevant to the deal are entered. Key values such as current owner’s name, are entered automatically onto the electronic template from the titles register. Before you can submit an eDealing, the instruments must be certified and electronically signed using a digital certificate. Only Conveyancers that are nominated on the Authority and Instruction form can certify and sign eDealings.

If both Conveyancers are comfortable that the eDealing is complete and correct, it then proceeds on to the settlement and release stage. It is in this stage that instruments are allowed to be released and only then that the eDealing can be electronically submitted to LINZ. It also has with it at that time, a lodgement priority date assigned. Landonline run automated checks at the time of the submission. If it passes those checks, it is immediately registered and the titles register is automatically updated. This happens without any manual intervention by Land Information New Zealand (LINZ). The steps that then happens is that the submitting Conveyancer receives an electronic notice confirming registration.

Landonline uses a multi-layered, two factor authentication security system incorporating a unique electronic identification Digital Certificate, password and passphrase to ensure its security. Only users from licensed firms are issued Digital Certificates, which include public and private encryption information keys, and only those authorised can certify and electronically sign documents.

The benefits are:

Online, real time access to Landonline’s digital records eliminates time spent waiting for search results. Converted records are easy to read, reducing the time and hassle of deciphering old handwriting or faded, worn documents. Landonline enables LINZ to provide better customer service and more consistently accurate documentation. The quality of information available to users has improved, with the distinction between historical and current documents clearly identified. Built in functions, such as pre-validation of survey lodgements and electronic documents, have resulted in more accurate records being lodged and held in Landonline.

LINZ’s technical and access security layers guard against threats to the integrity of the titles register and digital cadastre. Landonline’s system design and technical security ensures LINZ securely backs up all survey and title records on a regular basis. This reduces risk to the titles register and digital cadastre. Landonline’s screens and help functions are designed specifically to meet the needs of registered users. A built-in Help tool, quick reference cards and user guides for e-search, e-dealing, e-survey and e-certification are available to help users become familiar with using the system. A number of online training resources are also available.

As 98 percent of records are accessed from electronic land information held in Landonline, users are able to search and locate records outside their region or area and bulk search more easily. Survey and title lodgements are processed directly into Landonline. That means whenever users log on, they receive the most up-to-date information available.

Duplicate instrument lodgements are no longer required. Titles are clean documents with live information only – blocks such as expired covenants, have been removed. Lodgement processing is now simpler and faster than before. For our friends across the ditch it is another matter. The Australians have a steering committee working through the process to embrace Electronic Conveyancing but are stumped due the fact of having State and Federal Government to contend with and different rules, regulations and systems for every State and Territory. So not only are we several hours ahead of them in real time, in the Conveyancing arena the Kiwi’s have been years ahead.

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