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CIB 305: Change to Registrar and Commissioner of Titles’ Joint Practice: Verification of Identity and Authority – fraud mitigation

As foreshadowed and as part of their fraud mitigation strategy, the Western Australian Commissioner of Titles and the Registrar of Titles have updated their Joint Practice for Verification of Identity and Authority (VOI Practice) for paper-based transactions. The updated VOI Practice more closely aligns to the requirements for national electronic transactions.  The changes seek to improve the integrity of information in the Western Australian Land Titles Register, reduce the risk of fraud and improper dealings, and remove confusion for customers and agents operating in both electronic and paper environments.

The key changes to the VOI Practice will:
* extend the requirement for verification of identity to property buyers and caveators lodging and withdrawing caveats;
* update the categories of documents needed to support verification of identity;
* update the procedures for conducting verification of identity in a foreign country; and
* improve the procedures for self-represented parties.

The updated Land Titles Registration Policy and Procedure Guides for the VOI Practice are available on the Landgate website. Further information and frequently asked questions are available on the VOI webpage.

These changes come into effect on 12 February 2018.  To give practitioners time to adjust their processes and procedures, they will not be required to fully comply until 5 June 2018.  We recommend practitioners use the transitional period to implement the changes as soon as possible. Please note that the T1A, T2A and T4A paper form templates incorporating the VOI statement for Transferors, will not be updated to include a VOI Statement for Purchasers, and cannot be used on or after 5 June 2018.

Documents executed before, and lodged on or after 5 June 2018 should comply with the updated VOI Practice.

Self-represented parties
VOI Practice for self-represented parties is also changing.

The Registrar of Titles will continue to issue Verification of Identity Statements for self-represented parties who have been identified by Australia Post on or before 12 February 2018.

From 12 February 2018, the Registrar of Titles will not provide the Verification of Identity Statement for self-represented parties. The Registrar of Titles has authorised Australia Post to undertake all aspects of the verification of identity and authority to deal for self-represented parties.  The Verification of Identity Statement will be printed on Australia Post letterhead and signed by an authorised Australia Post officer and should be included in the documents lodged for registration or noting with Landgate. Australia Post will separately report to the Registrar of Titles information on the statements for self-represented parties issued by Australia Post.

Fees for verification of identity services for self-represented parties available from 12 February 2018 at participating Australia Post Offices will be:

Verification of identity services cost
Verification of identity statements for Transfers - sellers, mortgagors, donors for power of attorney and applicants for replacement of title, caveators, executors/administrators, applicants for transmission, survivors, applicants for survivorship. $159
Additional properties which require a separate statement  $50 per property
Verification of identity statement for Transfers - buyers $89
Verification of identity statement of identity declarants $44.95

*all fees are set by Australia Post.

All forms will be available from the Australia Post website along with more information for self-represented parties from the date of implementation.  For further information, refer to the VOI webpage.

The Commissioner and Registrar appreciate your cooperation to continue to apply the VOI Practice and your continued vigilance to protect and strengthen the Western Australian Land Titles system.