The information provided below is general in nature and should not be relied upon legal advice. You should call 03 5445 1000 and speak to a lawyer at OFRM about your particular circumstances.

To buy or sell land will you need to prove your identity first?

To buy or sell land will you need to prove your identity first?

9 November 2015 mightn't sound like a date that shapes up as a significant occasion but in the world of conveyancing it is a big one.

As of today, the Titles Office will require that everyone participating in a transfer of land has their identification verified.

Some people might find it peculiar that up until now the Titles Office have just accepted you are who you say you are but that has been a system that has had very few identity based fraudulent events for well over a century. However, with the introduction of online settlements there have been various tweaks, including this requirement for verification of identity.

What does verification of identity (VOI) require?

It is a process similar to the 100 point check that banks use, though not the same. Essentially it requires you demonstrate your identity by providing in a face to face interview government issued documents like passport, birth certificate, drivers licence. The verification process includes the verifier copying those documents, confirming they match your likeness, taking a current photo of you and having you sign acknowledging that is all true.

We can do all this with you in our office. If you are unable to make it into our office we can arrange for you to complete the process at an Australia post outlet.

OFRM takes very seriously your privacy and the safety of your data so we have set up a technologically advanced system where the verification of identity, which we must retain for 7 years, is only stored in electronically and in encrypted files.

What does the process mean for you?

The actual verification takes less than 5 minutes provided you have the relevant documents with you and we let you know in advance what documents you'll require. Usually we will be able to complete the VOI at another time we meet with you regarding your property transaction; it doesn't have to be the first time we meet.

All our lawyers and staff have been trained in the process, and we have even developed a tool that walks them through with you identifying what documents you have to complete the VOI.

One of the most important things is that if you don't have a current full birth certificate and one is needed for a VOI then requesting one needs to be done swiftly as it can take about 3 weeks.

We have established an easy and smooth way to ensure that VOI can occur for you as required by the Registrar of Titles, but it is essential that we discuss this early in your matter. If you have any questions call one of our lawyers.