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.

Title searches and final searches

Title searches and final searches

A current title search of the property is one of the documents that must be included in the Section 32/Vendor Statement (see my previous article I'm selling a property. What is a Section 32?. A title search is a current copy of the Certificate of Title for the property.

This system of titles is known as the Torrens System after the South Australian Sir Robert Richard Torrens who developed the system in 1858.

The Torrens system provides:

  1. The land titles Register accurately and completely reflects the current ownership and interests about a person's land.
  2. Because the land titles Register contains all the information about the person's land, it means that ownership and other interests do not have to be proved by long complicated documents, such as title deeds.

Titles in Victoria are managed by the Titles Office (now known as Land Use Victoria) through the Registrar of Titles. That system is now moving to electronic titles.

An interesting quirk of the system is that the actual title is held by the Registrar of Titles and doesn’t leave that office. What you may think is your title that you or your bank has is actually the "duplicate certificate of title".

A title search reports on the details held on the title that the Registrar holds. It is an online search.

The title search and the accompanying plan together provide a lot of information about the property, such as who the current owner of the property is, a description of the land including the dimensions, any restrictions of the use of the land such as restrictive covenants, any easements, any mortgages over the property or any caveats that are registered on the title.

So, what is a final search and when is it done?

When acting on behalf of purchasers, lawyers must do a final search of the Title on the day of settlement prior to settlement taking place. This is because during the course of a settlement period which is usually between 30 and 90 days, it is possible that the position in relation to the title may have changed between the first search and settlement. The purchasers’ lawyer does a final search to check that no new dealings affecting the title have been lodged since the previous search was done that could impact upon the transfer of the property to the purchaser.

If you have any questions about searches or other aspects of your property transaction with us, please call the Conveyancing team on 03 5445 1000.