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New policy to counteract title fraud

Policy to counteract title fraud ready for public comment.

Consultation has begun on a draft policy aimed at reducing the opportunity for land title fraud and for other improper dealings in Western Australia.

Registrar of Titles Bruce Roberts and Commissioner of Titles Susan Dukes developed the policy 'Joint Practice: Verification of Identity' in response to two alleged Western Australian land title frauds in 2010 and 2011.

Set to take effect from 1 July 2012, the policy will require identification of persons claiming authority to deal with a land title. It outlines the minimum standard of identification needed for executing property documents that will be lodged at Landgate, including transfer, mortgage, survivorship and powers of attorney documents.

Mr Roberts said while it was impossible to completely prevent fraud, the best opportunity to do so was before financial settlement, which was before any documents were registered with Landgate.

"Landgate's role in the conveyancing process is at the end of the process, after money has been paid to, in the case of alleged fraud, the fraudster," Mr Roberts said.

"With this in mind, verification of identity is a critical step to reducing the opportunity for land title fraud and for other improper dealings."

Previously a 100 point identity check was the standard. Mr Roberts said the new policy is a five category sliding scale of identity documents, with category one the highest standard.

Identification will be based on a requirement to provide original identity documents preferably with two photographs and a face to face meeting.

The policy is now available for external consultation and review. Members of the public are invited to make written submissions to the Registrar of Titles and Commissioner of Titles, PO Box 2222, Midland, 6936, WA. Submissions close at 5pm on 27 April 2012.

Queries on the submission process may be addressed to Landgate Acting Director Registrations Jean Villani. Call +61 (0)8 9273 7054 or email