Electronic conveyancing or online conveyancing, most commonly referred to as “e conveyancing", allows solicitors, conveyancers and banks to electronically:
complete conveyancing transactions (from exchange to settlement); and
lodge documents at land registries.
It is done through the national online platform of an Electronic Lodgement Network Operator (ELNO), e.g. PEXA. Through this platform, documents can be created and electronically signed, and duty and settlement funds can be paid. E conveyancing is governed by the Electronic National Law, which has been implemented separately in each jurisdiction.
E conveyancing replaces the traditional paper processes that still exist in some jurisdictions such as Tasmania and the Northern Territory. It reduces risk and is more time efficient. It removes the need for:
all parties having to attend face-to-face settlements;
paper documents (having to be signed and witnessed in wet ink); and
It also allows for the immediate transfer of funds and registration of documents on settlement. In paper settlements, cheques have to be lodged and cleared after settlement and it may often take days, if not weeks, for documents to be registered. Further, because of the time saved and the reduction in the number of people who need to be involved in the process, the online conveyancing cost usually ends up being much cheaper than the paper conveyancing cost. This is probably why advertisements are often seen for “cheap online conveyancing”.
To conduct online property conveyancing, online conveyancing solicitors and conveyancers must:
become subscribers of an ELNO;
verify the identity of their clients (“VOI”) and their clients’ authority to deal with the properties; and
obtain their clients’ written authorisations to sign documents, complete conveyancing transactions and lodge documents for registration on their behalf.
NSW is close to achieving its target of 100% e conveyancing. Since July 2019, it has been mandatory to lodge all mainstream documents at NSW Land Registry Services (LRS) (e.g. transfers, mortgages, discharges of mortgages, caveats, etc.) and another 29 documents are about to be mandated in March 2021 (including notices of death, transfers of leases and variations of leases). It should also be possible to lodge most documents electronically at LRS by the end of 2021, even if they have not yet been mandated. All certificates of title (paper and electronic) are also expected to be abolished by mid-2021.
Bronte Law embraces e conveyancing and provides fully online conveyancing services. It conducts all conveyancing transactions electronically through PEXA, saving both time and costs. It can also carry out VOI checks remotely, allowing the process to be carried out from any location.