The NSW Office of the Registrar General (ORG) is working with network partners including NSW Land Registry Services (NSW LRS) and Electronic Lodgment Network Operators to ensure minimal disruption. Our joint priority is the safety of customers, employees, and other stakeholders.
We are working with all operators to deliver the most effective planning and response, should the situation start to affect your ability to conduct land transaction related business in NSW.
New lodgment option during the COVID-19 pandemic
The Registrar General has approved a temporary lodgment process that will allow documents that aren’t currently able to be lodged electronically, to be lodged electronically. This “COVID-19 residual lodgment” allows for paper documents to be sent to NSW LRS via the PEXA workspace as a PDF attachment. NSW LRS will treat the PDF version of the paper document as if it were lodged in paper over the counter.
The process will be launched in two phases. From 11 May 2020, land dealings with electronically tradeable titles will be able to be lodged via COVID-19 residual lodgment. From 25 May 2020, all other documents that would ordinarily be lodged over the counter at NSW LRS, such as powers of attorney and deeds (but not plans or water access licences) will be able to be lodged using this option. Only PEXA Subscribers are able to use COVID-19 residual lodgment.
Guidance note on executing NSW paper land dealings and instruments during the pandemic
Restrictions imposed as a result of COVID-19 have made it difficult to prepare, sign and witness paper land dealings.
From 27 April 2020, changes to the Conveyancing Rules temporarily allow paper land dealings, plans and Section 88B instruments to be signed electronically. These documents may also be witnessed electronically using an audio visual link during the COVID-19 restriction, under the Electronic Transactions Amendment (COVID-19 Witnessing of Documents) Regulation 2020 which commenced on 22 April 2020.
These temporary changes do not alter any existing requirements for execution and certification, verification of identity or establishing the right to deal.
Please refer to the following publications for more information about signing and witnessing documents, and for general information about how we are responding to COVID-19:
- Conveyancing Rules – (COVID-19 Pandemic) Amendment – April 2020
- Guidance Note: executing NSW paper land dealings during COVID-19 restrictions
- Guidance Note: executing NSW plans during COVID-19 restrictions
Guidance for eConveyancing and Verification of Identity
ARNECC has provided guidance on conducting eConveyancing during this time.
NSW LRS and ELNOs
NSW LRS has published information and a COVID-19 key links page on assisting customers during potential COVID-19 disruptions. The information outlines measures NSW LRS is putting in place to assist customers during this time, including health and safety measures for visits to the lodgment counter at Queens Square, and managing dealings that cannot be lodged electronically.
PEXA advised industry that, property settlements continue to proceed as normal and uninterrupted. PEXA provides advice for its members settling digitally during the COVID-19 situation. For more information please contact PEXA.
Sympli is continuing to operate and deliver services during the COVID-19 situation. They remain committed to maintaining a high level of customer service and supporting industry. For more information, please contact Sympli.
As we continue to build our understanding on the extent of this situation, we will keep you informed to help you to prepare for any potential or actual business disruption.
This page will be ORG’s source of regular updates. We will also send direct communications on any substantial developments via ORG’s email subscription service.
Below is some key information for you to understand who to contact in what organisation, and how we will respond to various scenarios as a result of the Coronavirus.
- All operators are continuing with business as usual.
- ORG and all operators have established relevant Business Continuity Plan (BCP) pandemic response teams.
- ORG and the operators have tested their capacity to continue business services from remote locations.
- ORG and all operators will continue to liaise closely on changes to any land transaction services in response to the Coronavirus threat.
- Operators will communicate directly to customers on what services have changed should there be any change, and ORG will also update this webpage with this information.
- To identify the potential impact of new aspects of the pandemic, we will continue to take the advice of external guidance from public health experts. We are taking advice from the Department of Customer Service (DCS) and DCS is getting regular briefings from NSW Health, along with the Crisis Control Group, and other forums.
- Each operator is responsible for developing their response plan and communicating to customers any changes to their business services, in line with the relevant regulations.
Office of the Registrar General - 1300 318 998
NSW Land Registry Services - 02 8775 3575 or 1300 396 076
PEXA - 1300 084 515
Sympli - 1300 769 754