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Demystifying the Certificate of Title and more

May 15, 2023

As a seasoned conveyancer in Perth, I’ve seen firsthand just how overwhelming the process of buying or selling a property can be, especially when it comes to grasping the technicalities involved.

I’m here to help unravel the mysteries surrounding one critical aspect that both buyers and sellers need to understand: the Certificate of Title (CT). In this article, I’ll be your friendly guide, taking you on a journey through the complexities of the CT and other crucial aspects of the conveyancing process. Together, we’ll equip you with valuable insights and tips, whether you’re a real estate agent or a client looking to navigate the Perth property market with confidence. So, let’s get started!

Understanding the Certificate of Title

The Certificate of Title (CT) is a crucial document in the property transfer process, providing proof of ownership, and containing essential information about the property. It provides essential information about the property, such as the registered owner’s name, a description of the land, and any encumbrances, restrictions, or rights affecting the property, such as mortgages, easements, or liens. The CT serves as the primary source of information to prove property ownership and is a critical component in property transactions, such as buying, selling, or refinancing.

When examining a CT, there are several key aspects to consider:

Title ownership

Determine whether the title is in the name of individuals or a company. If it’s registered under a company’s name, it’s essential to verify who has the authority to sign the sales paperwork. This information can be found by conducting a company search through the Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC) website.


Encumbrances are claims or interests held by third parties that can affect the property. It’s crucial to check for any irregular encumbrances on the title, such as easements, , notifications or restrictive covenants. These encumbrances could potentially impact the property’s value, use, or transferability.

Mortgage and Title Format

If there is no mortgage on the property, determine whether the title is in paper or digital format. In Perth, most titles have been converted to digital format, but some older properties may still have paper titles. Ensure your client is in possession of the title, as this will be necessary for the conveyancing process.

Additional Conveyancing Topics for Perth Property Transactions

Along with understanding the CT, there are several other aspects of the conveyancing process to consider:

Enduring Power of Attorney (EPA)

An EPA is a legal document that allows a person (the donor) to appoint someone else (the donee) to make financial and property decisions on their behalf. In property transactions, an EPA may be used if the property owner is unable to sign the necessary documents due to illness or absence. It’s crucial to verify the validity of an EPA and ensure that the donee has the proper authority to act on the donor’s behalf.

Deceased Owners

In the case of a deceased owner on the title, it’s important to understand the process of transferring the property to the beneficiaries or the surviving joint tenant(s from the Supreme Court of Western Australia and lodging the appropriate documents with Landgate. It is also important to note that the process is different if owned as Joint Tenants of Tenants in common. Typically, there is no need for a Grant of Probate or Letters of Administration for Joint Tenants, however, a Death Certificate is required for the Title to be updated.

Adding a spouse to a Title

Adding a spouse to a title in Perth requires the preparation and lodgement of a Transfer of Land document with Landgate. It’s essential to consider the implications of this change, such as and the impact on the property’s ownership structure. It is encouraged that you contact your conveyancer, as your scenario may have a stamp duty exemption.

Navigating the complexities of the Certificate of Title and the conveyancing process in Perth can be challenging for both real estate agents and clients. By familiarising yourself with these key aspects and seeking professional guidance when needed, you’ll be better equipped to handle property transactions smoothly and efficiently.

If you have questions or need clarification on any conveyancing-related topics in Perth, don’t hesitate to reach out to me at Essence Conveyancing.

Disclaimer: Please note, the contents of this article do not constitute conveyancing advice, are not intended to be a substitute for conveyancing advice and should not be relied upon as such. You should seek conveyancing advice or other professional advice in relation to any particular matters you or your organisation may have. To find out more, please contact us.