Any person buying or selling property must undertake what is called a Verification of Identity (VOI) process with their Conveyancer. This is usually one of the first of many steps that are carried out in the process of buying or selling. As Conveyancers, it is a requirement under the Real Property Act 1886 that we must verify the identity of our clients through a face to face interview in accordance with the VOI Guidelines in order to complete a transaction at the Lands Titles Office. If we do not verify the identity of our clients, we are unable to execute a document for lodging at the Land Titles Office. The Verification of Identity process was introduced in July 2013 to reduce and ultimately eliminate the risk of land title fraud when it comes to buying or selling property in Australia. Before VOI was introduced, and in some circumstances, individuals were able to sign their own registerable documents. This meant that there was a real risk of property theft when a party fraudulently pretended to be the owner of land. Can you imagine?! Land could be sold without the consent of the owner!
What is the process?
To complete a VOI, the following identification documents must be sighted in order to proceed with the transaction:
- An Australian Passport (not expired for more than 2 years) or a Foreign Passport; and
- an Australian Driver’s Licence or Proof of Age Card; and
- if any names differ on either of the ID’s, a Marriage Certificate.
If a passport is not available, then we require:
- An Australian Driver’s Licence or Proof of Age Card; and
- a Birth Certificate or citizenship certificate; and
- a Medicare, Centrelink or Department of Veteran Affair’s Card; and
- if any names differ on either of the ID’s, a Marriage Certificate
Any documents produced must be original and current. If the details or photographs on the identification are not to the Conveyancer’s satisfaction, for example the names do not match or the ID does not seem genuine, the Conveyancer must undertake further steps.
What about interstate clients?
If a party to a transaction is not located in the same state or unable to meet with their Conveyancer for geographical reason, most Conveyancing firms will engage an ID agent, such as IDSecure, to send an authorised person out to meet their client and complete the process. Australia Post also offer a Land Titles Verification of Identity service.
Providing additional security for clients
Having a process of verifying our client’s identity on each and every transaction is an integral part of our work and it strengthens the system and provides parties more security. It also allows a Conveyancer to know that their client is who they say they are. You can read more information on the Registrar General’s Verification of Identity requirement and guidelines here. If you are buying or selling property, get in touch with us today to discuss your needs.