Since February 2023, it has become mandatory in Queensland for certain types of property instruments and documents to be lodged or deposited electronically through an Electronic Lodgement Network Operator (ELNO).
Instruments to which the mandate applies include:
- mortgages, and releases of mortgage;
- caveats, and requests to withdraw caveats;
- priority notices and extensions or withdrawals of such notices;
- applications to be registered as a personal representative for a registered owner who has died.
In Queensland, required instruments or documents can be lodged with either of two approved ELNOs – Property Exchange Australia Limited (PEXA) and Sympli Australia Pty Ltd – requiring each party (or their legal representative/conveyancer) to subscribe to the operator. Each party to the transaction must use the same ELNO.
There are a number of benefits to using eConveyancing, including:
- instant confirmation of lodgement and an alert about settlement;
- automatic payment of disbursements and fees;
- reduced requests to both parties due to automatic verifications and checks; and
- capacity to settle multiple transactions simultaneously.
Are there exemptions to the mandate?
Certain transactions are exempted from the mandatory requirement. One of the most common exemptions is for those who wish to do their own property conveyancing, without legal representation.
The self-represented exemption to e-conveyancing applies only to individuals and not companies. A company is required to either subscribe to an ELNO in order to conduct its own property transaction, or engage a lawyer.
Again, the exemption does not apply if an individual is represented by a lawyer or law firm, regardless of whether the lawyer or firm is an ELNO subscriber. Lawyers and law firms with conveyancing as an area of practice must have become a subscriber to an ELNO before February 20, 2023.
You will be eligible for this exemption if you are a party to the instrument who:
- is a natural person (i.e. not a company etc.);
- does not subscribe to an ELNO such as PEXA; and
- is not represented by an Australian legal practitioner or an incorporated legal practice.
If these criteria apply to your situation, you will not be required to conduct your transaction using eConveyancing.
What is the process to claim the exemption?
Titles Queensland provides an eConveyancing Mandate Exemption Request Form on its website. The form should be lodged together with the relevant property instrument in paper form.
It is important to be certain that the transaction meets the criteria for exemption from the e-conveyancing process. If in doubt, contact our property law specialists at Delaney & Delaney for guidance on whether you can proceed with your property transaction without the need for an ELNO subscription or conveyancing legal fees.