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Expansion of electronic property transactions – New Bill before Parliament

In brief: Proposed changes to the Conveyancing Act pave the way for electronic leasing

The NSW Government has introduced into Parliament proposed amendments to the Conveyancing Act 1919 (NSW) (the Act) to further accommodate electronic property transactions. One of the objects of the Conveyancing Legislation Amendment Bill 2018 is to support the transition to paperless property transactions, by removing existing impediments to electronic land transactions.

The Bill has passed the stage of first reading and is now in the process of second reading in Parliament.  Among other things, the Bill provides for the following key issues:

  • Clarifications regarding electronic form contracts relating to land under the Real Property Act 1900 (NSW). While clarifications rather than significant changes, if passed such clarifications are likely to result in a rapid acceleration in the practice of online conveyancing; and

  • Deeds would be able to be electronically signed and attested. It is important to note this will include leases. Following the enactment of the Bill, we would expect further consequential amendments to be made to the Registrar-General’s Guidelines and the Lodgement Rules (for example, so that an original hard copy lease is not required to be presented to NSW Land Registry Services in order for the lease to be in registrable form).

We will continue to monitor the process of the Bill and provide a further update in due course.