Anyone who’s considering purchasing a real estate property in Australia will surely know what property titles are. In that case, you’ll realise there are things you have to be aware of, such as registration, types of titles, and many more. That’s why today we’ll delve further into property titles in Australia and everything you need to know about them.
There are about five things pertaining to titles that are essential for you to be aware of, so let’s quickly dive into it.
In order for a buyer to establish land ownership in Australia, he/ she must do it through a registered land title instead of a simple deed. This is better known as the Torren’s principle, which was a scheme developed by Sir Robert Richard Torren, Australia’s third premier, sometime in the late 1880’s.
How it works is that each state or territory maintains an online register, which is considered the official record of ownership in the area it governs. Any type of ownership, such as easements, mortgages, covenants, and other conditions are stated therein. When ownership is recorded in the said register, no past claim can void it, making them considered indefeasible titles.
Every state and territory in Australia has a database that carries all sorts of titles and related documents related to land ownership. People are often allowed to browse through most of the databases if they wish to research on specific properties, giving them a glimpse into the history and ownership behind them.
Different Types of Property Titles
Little do people know that there are more than one type of property title in Australia. Here’s a quick rundown on the different property titles:
Freehold/ Torrens Title
This is the kind of title that’s used in all categories and states in Australia because it is government-guaranteed, thus most residential and some commercial land has this type of title. In instances when the land carries no mortgage, the person identified on the title-deed as owner is considered the title owner.
Strata title is known for a variety of names, but it means the title has conditions therein. This type of title can be found in both residential and commercial properties. Basically, a strata title refers to shared ownership, like when homeowners in a building shares in the ownership of walls, common stairways, roofs, and so on. As such, properties found within strata titles are cheaper, although it provides lesser privacy and has several restrictions. Furthermore, a corporate board, which is the governing body of the strata community, collects fees for building maintenance and other shared expenses.
This kind of title has started ages ago, although it it uncommon these days. How it works is that a company owns a specific land, and then individuals may become owners by obtaining shares in the given property. That being said, re-selling this kind of property becomes very challenging and complicated as the shareholders will have to sell their shares in the process, making it unpopular.
Leasehold, as the term implies, is when the government holds a land on lease, and is popularly seen in large areas of land like cattle farms and wheat fields. The rules governing leaseholds vary from one state to another, although each would require an amount of deposit and annual rent. This type of title requires dutiful study as there are variations, depending on area and residence activity. The Australian Capital Territory (ACT) lands hold this kind of title, which again differs from that of other territories.
These residences could be a combination of different titles, such as stratas and leaseholds, although there are sometimes restrictions and rules governing the ownership or the ability to sell. The said rules are different from one retirement village to another, which is why it requires a careful review beforehand.
Perhaps the rarest type of ownership, it is also known as cross-lease. In a manner of speaking, it is a type of shared ownership wherein the owner registers ownership of a share of the land where the unit is. That way, common areas are shared with other unit holders.
Making Changes to Title Details
When changing details to the title, you will need to have a professional conveyancer or a real estate lawyer, or sometimes both. Corrections to the name, address, including details of the recent buyer, changing the mortgagee, and many more are some of the essential information that can be seen in the change of title details.
Making any change to the title details can be very complicated. As such, you will need professional help, such as from a licensed surveyor or a conveyancer.
Stolen/ Lost Titles
Once you purchase a property in Australia, you immediately receive a Certificate of Title, which stands as testament that your ownership has been added to the online register. If you are still paying a mortgage, however, the lender keeps the certificate until you’ve finished paying it off. If this document is lost or stolen, you can file for replacement, but you will need a lawyer’s help.
Having an experienced conveyancer is what you need when it comes to property titles. As always, CS Conveyancing is able to help you in that matter.