On 11 October 2021, the Real Property Amendment (Certificates of Title) Act 2021 commenced, which abolished the Certificates of Title (CTs) and the control of the right to deal (CoRD) framework. All existing CTs have been cancelled and CTs will no longer be issued. Existing CTs will not need to be produced, and CoRD holder consent will not be required, for a dealing or plan to be registered. All existing Guidelines subject to this change are currently being reviewed and will be updated to reflect these changes. For further information regarding the abolition of CTs, please see https://www.registrargeneral.nsw.gov.au/property-and-conveyancing/eConveyancing/abolition-of-certificates-of-title

Official Search

As an alternative to conversion by Primary Application a parcel of land may be converted to Torrens Title by means of an Official Search. An Official Search may also be used to remove a caution from an existing Torrens title. It cannot be used where:

  • ownership is based on possession, or
  • the plan of the land indicates that it may be adversely occupied, or
  • the Official Search raises doubts about the owners title.

Official Search as the basis for Old System Title conversion

An Official Search of the Old System Deeds Register is one undertaken by qualified NSW LRS staff and which will wherever possible, extend to a good root of title sufficient to prove uninterrupted ownership. The Official Search can be used as the basis for issue of a full Torrens title.

To request conversion by Official Search, the applicant should complete the Application for Official Search form, together with a statutory declaration confirming ownership and if necessary the consent of any mortgagee as per the attached examples and lodge them at Client Services, Titling and Registry Services, on the ground floor of the NSW LRS Queens Square Office. Alternatively the Application may be lodged by mail. Fees are calculated on an hourly basis an undertaking to pay fees incurred by the search is incorporated in the application form. Where the search involves party walls and/or easements, additional search fees will apply as the search will be extended to confirm the uninterrupted enjoyment of that right.

The Registrar General will not release the Official Search until all fees are paid.

Removing a Caution Notification by Official Search

Section 28MC Real Property Act 1900 provides the facility for removing a caution on the basis of an official search, provided the search (and any other evidence that the Registrar General may request) satisfies the Registrar General that there are no subsisting interests affecting the land other than those recorded in the Register or preserved by s.42 Real Property Act 1900. The power to require 'any further evidence' may be used to require a plan of survey or other information to ensure that the boundary definition of the relevant parcel is adequate, particularly with 'Limited' titles.

The Application for Official Search form may also be used to request removal of a Caution recorded on a Qualified Torrens title. It must be accompanied by a completed statutory declaration confirming ownership and where the land is mortgaged, the consent of the mortgagee.

Following completion of a satisfactory search, the applicant will be asked to lodge:

Note  For further information on removal of cautions generally refer to Baalman and Wells paras 487 to 489 inclusive.