IS A VOI?
The Western Australian Registrar
of Titles and Commissioner of Titles require persons who deal with land to
verify their identity. VOI is a two-step process
which requires the production of current, original identification documents and
then a visual face-to-face assessment of these, before lodging documents with Landgate.
Identifiers may be a conveyancer,
lawyer, mortgagee or Australia Post may provide this service for
self-represented parties for a fee.
On 31 January 2018, changes to
the current VOI practice were announced, which seek to further improve the
integrity of information in property transactions and reduce the risk of fraud.
These changes come into effect on 12 February 2018, with full compliance
expected by 5 June 2018.
OF A VOI
2012, Landgate introduced a VOI practice to help
mitigate fraudulent land transactions due to identity theft or other improper
dealings. The changes were brought in response to a well-known title fraud in
2010; where a Roger Mildenhall had his Karrinyup home sold by Nigerian scammers,
who obtained sufficient documentation (including utility bills) to
authorise the transaction. The changes to the current VOI practice are aimed at reducing the risk of such fraud.
+ To reduce the risk of fraud
Indefeasibility of title is central to the Torrens system of land registration. Indefeasibility ensures that innocent third parties are protected
in transactions. This protection is found in the Transfer of Land Act 1893 (WA) (TLA). Section 68 provides that when a person is registered on the
certificate of title, their interest in that land is paramount. This remains
true even if the true owner is deprived of their interest in the land through
fraud. Section 63 of the TLA states
that the Certificate of Title is held to be conclusive evidence that the person
named has such power or interest as described in the certificate. This allows transferees to safely purchase property and they are not required to conduct inquiries
beyond the certificate of title. For this reason, rigorous procedures
are in place to ensure the rightful person is registered by Landgate.
+ To reduce the risk of
successful claims for compensation against industry participants, and against
the State under the TLA
201(1) provides that compensation can be sought by any person who is deprived
of their interest in land in consequence of fraud. As clarified in Parker v Registrar-General  1 NSWLR 22, the fraud
must be by another who becomes registered. In the WA case
of Registrar of Titles (WA) v Franzon (1975) 132 CLR 611, a solicitor forged the signatures of his client on a mortgage that was subsequently registered, however, there was no fraud under section 201(1) of the TLA because the solicitor himself did not become registered on the Certificate of Title.
In cases of fraud or where there has been an error or misdescription, compensation can be
claimed against the Registrar as a nominal defendant.
+ To align with the requirements
for electronic transactions
removes confusion for customers and agents operating in both the electronic and
ARE THE CHANGES?
biggest change to the VOI practice includes requiring a VOI for buyers of land and
are also significant changes for self-represented parties who must now have
their VOI conducted at Australia Post with an increased cost. For sellers,
mortgagors, donors for power of attorney, caveators, etc. the fee is now $159 and
buyers who are newly required to obtain VOIs will be charged $89. This may
result in changes to fees charged by solicitors for their services, to align
with the service provided by Australia Post.
documentation required under the new changes largely remains the same so that a partys current VOI will be valid under the new practice from 5 June
2018. However, the creation of a new
category, Category 4, also accepts:
- Australian Passport
or foreign passport plus another form of Australian State Government or
Commonwealth Government issued photographic identity Document plus change of name or
marriage certificate if necessary; and
Passport or foreign passport plus full birth certificate plus another form of
Australian State Government or Commonwealth Government issued identity Document plus change of name or marriage certificate if
TRANSACTIONS OR MULTIPLE PROPERTIES
A VOI for each property and
transaction is required.
HOW LONG DOES THE
a person is represented by the same lawyer on a continuous or ongoing basis
with respect to the sale of real property in Western Australia, a separate VOI is
required on the first and second transfer but not for any subsequent transfers
within the next two (2) years.
self-represented parties, a VOI statement can be used for up to 2 years from
the date of issue for the transaction and property specified. Subsequent
transactions for the same or different properties require separate VOI
you are planning on conducting multiple transactions in the future, it may work
be desirable to obtain services from a lawyer, because as noted above separate,
a VOI is not required after the second transaction.
you think these changes may affect you and need some advice, do not hesitate to
call the Integra office for assistance.