Land title in NSW is based on a plan developed from a survey (plan of survey) which defines the boundaries of a parcel of land at the date on which it was registered.
The majority of plans lodged with Land and Property Information (LPI) are required by law to be prepared by a registered surveyor. Although strata plans do not show survey information, they also are required by law to be prepared by a registered surveyor.
When new land parcels are created (e.g. subdivision) or when all or part of an existing parcel is to be used for a specific purpose (e.g. easement or lease) a plan must be prepared, lodged and registered with LPI. In defining new parcel boundaries, the plan creates the legal identity of the land.
Documents – known as dealings – the most common types of being mortgages, discharges of mortgage and transfers of ownership are lodged with LPI for registration as part of the hundreds of thousands of land transactions each year, ensuring that current details of ownership and other interests are recorded in the land title system.
When dealings are lodged with LPI for registration, they are investigated for compliance with LPI’s guidelines and legislative requirements.
Following registration a new edition of the Certificate of Title is issued – listing the current title information including the names of the owners, mortgages, and any rights or restrictions affecting the title such as easements, covenants, and caveats.
The new Certificate of Title is delivered to the owner of the property or their legal representative if there is no mortgage registered on the Title. If there is a mortgage, the Title is delivered to the bank or other financial institution to which the property is mortgaged.
Land transactions involving Old System land – land that has not been converted to Torrens Title – are registered in the General Register of Deeds. Deeds are prepared to legally document transactions as there is no Certificate of Title for Old System land.
When Old System land transactions are lodged, LPI retains the original deed to determine whether the land is suitable for conversion to Torrens Title. Today there are not many Old System land transactions, as most land has already been converted to the Torrens Title system.