What is the Verification of Authority requirement?
The Verification of Authority policy was introduced in South Australia in July 2016 and requires legal practitioners, conveyancers and mortgagees to take reasonable steps to verify their clients’ authority to be a party to the instruments authorised by or under a client authorisation.
These requirements were introduced to mitigate the risk of land title fraud in South Australia, and to provide confidence to other parties that they are dealing with a person who has authority to enter into the transaction.
When is verification of authority required?
Your representative must verify your authority before a conveyancing transaction is lodged with the Lands Titles Office.
It applies to both paper instruments; and documents under the Real Property Act.
What is a conveyancing transaction?
A conveyancing transaction is a transaction that involves one or more parties and the purpose is to:
- Create, transfer, dispose, mortgage, charge, lease or deal with in any other way an estate or interest in land; or
- Get something registered, noted or recorded in the Titles Register; or
- Have the registration, note or record of something in the Titles register changed, withdrawn or removed.
How does my solicitor, conveyancer or mortgagee verify my authority?
Your representative is required to take ‘reasonable steps’ to verify your authority by inspecting supporting documents that connect you to the land which is being conveyed.
Your representative must retain a copy of these documents for a period of 7 years.
What documents must I provide for inspection?
The supporting documents will vary depending on the type of transaction, and relevant circumstances.
For example, if you are purchasing property, your representative may request a copy of the contract of sale for the land or loan documentation.Where you are selling the property, this may extend utility bills, council rates, water rates, and mortgage documentation.
For transactions such as caveats, your representative must determine whether a caveatable interest exists. Documents relevant for a caveat, may include a loan agreement (inclusive of a charging clause), a copy of a Will demonstrating you a named beneficiary or an agreement as purchaser under an agreement for sale.
The list is not exhaustive, and reliance on one document alone is unlikely to satisfy the requirement to take ‘reasonable steps’.
Is it necessary for me to have my authority verified?
Failure to verify the authority of a party to a conveyancing transaction is a contravention of the Real Property Act.
All mortgagees, conveyancers and legal practitioners must ensure they take reasonable steps to verify the authority of their client.
Your representative will not proceed with a transaction if you do not provide them with the relevant documents for the verification of authority.
What if I am a self-represented party?
If you are a self-represented party, you will be required to produce to the Registrar-General supporting documents that link you to the land being conveyed.
You must retain a copy of the documents provided to the Registrar-General for a period of 7 years.
For more information regarding the verification of authority requirement, please contact one of our friendly staff at Bambrick Legal today.