Land is the main focus of property law. Each state in Australia has a different regime for the regulation, procedure and compliance. It is a largely statute-based area of the law but can still be influenced by the common law and principles that originated from Australia’s history as a colony of the United Kingdom, where land and estate law developed through the ambit of feudalism.
Property law creates a system for evidencing, recognizing and transferring title to land, facilitating its use as an economic instrument. Other legal instruments in property law that facilitate the private and commercial dealing of land include the mortgage, lease, covenant and easement.
The Torrens title system was first introduced in South Australia by Sir Robert Richard Torrens, the Registrar-General of Deeds, through the Real Property Act, 1858. New South Wales adopted the Torrens system with the commencement of the Real Property Act, 1862 on 1 January 1863 and this marked the beginning of the end of Old System land titles and the start of the system we use today. There are still some remnants of the Old system land titles.
In accordance with the principles of the Torrens system, each state maintains a land titles register of land that has been registered under the system which also shows the proprietor (owner) of the land. This system was devised to reduce the amount of fraud relating to land due to falsification of title deeds. It does so with “ownership” of the land being confirmed only upon registration of the property.
The Torrens system also provides for registration of other interests in land such as mortgage, by which land is used to secure a loan.
The two pieces of legislation regulating interests in property in NSW is the Real Property Act, 1900 and the Conveyancing Act, 1919.
All paper land titles in NSW were abolished on 11 October 2021 and all land dealings must be lodged electronically with NSW Land Registry Services.
All registered land title certificates are maintained in public registers which can be accessed either online or in-person. A title search of the Torrens Title Register held by NSW Land Registry Services is the single source of trust as to ownership of a person’s home or property.
At Everingham Solomons, we have the expertise to assist you with all legal matters regarding your land, because Helping You is Our Business.
Click here for more information on Suzanne Hindmarsh.