Everything you need to know about Queensland’s e-conveyancing mandate 2023
Electronic conveyancing (also known as e-conveyancing) is the digital alternative to paper settlements. Unlike a paper settlement, which involves representatives meeting in person and the exchange and lodgment of physical paperwork, e-conveyancing allows the conveyancing process to occur completely online.
In digital property settlements, legal practitioners acting for the buyer and seller connect via an online platform along with any financial institution involved, such as a lender or a bank releasing the seller’s mortgage, and do everything necessary to transfer ownership of property.
Is E-Conveyancing New?
Electronic settlements are not new, and many platforms have been around for a long time (PEXA, for example, was established in 2010).
Always a promising development in property law, the adoption of e conveyancing was significantly accelerated in the COVID era, when in-person property transactions were extremely difficult to facilitate.
Because of the greater security and efficiency electronic settlements provide, they became increasingly popular in 2022, when they comprised more than 70% of all relevant titling transactions.
How Are Online Settlements Regulated?
The Electronic Conveyancing National Law (Queensland Act) 2013 set up the framework for the regulation of conveyancing transactions to be processed through an Electronic Lodgment Network (or “ELN”). This Act was passed as part of an Intergovernmental Agreement amongst all the States and Territories of Australia to provide a nationally consistent approach to the regulation of e-conveyancing.
The Australian Registrars’ National Electronic Conveyancing Council (ARNECC) is the industry body responsible for developing and administering the model rules for e-conveyancing nationally.
Has The Queensland Government Mandated E-Conveyancing?
Queensland has joined New South Wales, South Australia, Victoria and Western Australia in making online settlements mandatory.
This means that certain ‘required instruments’ under the Regulations now need to be deposited or lodged electronically. These required instruments include;
An instrument of transfer
An instrument of mortgage
A mortgage release
A caveat or a request to withdraw a caveat
A priority notice
Some limited exceptions do apply, such as where an individual is self-represented, or where the ELN has limited functionality in respect of a particular transaction, or is unavailable.
What Is PEXA?
PEXA (short for ‘Property Exchange Australia’) is an ELN, a digital platform which allows property settlements to take place online. In a PEXA settlement, lawyers, conveyancers and financial institutions can prepare, sign, and lodge documents electronically, complete financial settlements and transfer ownership of property.
How Does A PEXA Settlement Work?
A PEXA Workspace is created by the seller’s lawyers, and an invitation is sent to all other parties, including the buyer’s lawyers, the lender, and any other parties with an interest in the transaction.
The PEXA Workspace allows all the parties to communicate with each other and prepare the necessary documents ahead of settlement.
On settlement day, PEXA facilitates the lodgment of electronic documents, and the payment of settlement proceeds, taxes and other disbursements
What Types Of Transactions Can Be Completed On PEXA?
Almost all real estate transactions involving conventional conveyancing can be done through PEXA, although this does vary from state to state. For more information, check out PEXA’s website.
Who Can Use PEXA?
Only approved customers can use PEXA and access workspaces. Those who have roles in conveyancing transactions, such as law firms and banks, are subscribers to PEXA.
Advantages Of E-Conveyancing
The PEXA platform and ELNs like it have completely revolutionised the property industry. Prior to the advent of e conveyancing, settlement day involved conveyancing lawyers or their representatives on both sides of the transaction meeting in a physical place, along with representatives from any lenders or mortagees involved. This was a time-consuming process, and prone to manual error and delays.
PEXA offers many benefits to all parties involved in a typical property transaction. These benefits include;
Cheaper Cost Of Settlements
PEXA’s fee is less than the cost of a physical settlement, once you factor in settlement attendance fees (most law firms will pay a settlement agent to attend). Settling on an electronic platform also allows clients to avoid bank cheque fees. These can be as much as $20 per cheque, and many settlements require four or more cheques to be processed.
Less Risk Of Delayed Settlements
PEXA allows all parties to a conveyancing transaction to complete the documents required for settlement ahead of time, and to see real-time tracking as the matter progresses to completion.
This allows for greater certainty and efficiency in processing transactions, as well as a decreased risk of delayed
Quicker Access To Funds
PEXA allows for quicker access to settlement funds for sellers, with proceeds usually available as cleared funds on the same day as the conveyancing transaction.
Less Paperwork, Better For The Environment!
The PEXA workspace allows your conveyancing solicitor to sign settlement documents on your behalf, greatly reducing the amount of paper required.
Once you have completed your identity verification and client authorisations there is no more paperwork for you to do!
Electronic Conveyancing: The Future Of Property Settlements
With the majority of Australian states having now made online settlements mandatory, the future of the conveyancing industry is online.
While PEXA is the predominant platform for e-conveyancing, there are others. The Queensland government issued a plan for the inter-operability of these platforms.
Keylaw has partnered with PEXA to offer our clients greater certainty, efficiency, and security in the sale or purchase of their property. For further information about the security of the PEXA platform, check out their article here.
If you have further questions, our experienced solicitors are happy chat about PEXA or any other aspect of conveyancing. Call us today!
The above is not legal advice and is general information only.
Whether you are buying or selling, our dedicated team will work with you to ensure your property settlement is a stress free and exciting process. We want you to feel that you are in control of the conveyancing process, not that the process is in control of you. Let us show you how easy it can be.