Duplicate Titles have been a feature of the Titles Register since its inception in 1875. Where there is one issued, a Duplicate Title is a paper version of the corresponding original Certificate of Title, with some differences and limitations.
Many people may not be aware that Duplicate Titles have a number of limitations. For example, caveats, memorials, notifications and property (seizure and sale) orders have never appeared on Duplicate Titles such that they do not give a true indication of the encumbrances on a parcel of land.
One of the key changes brought about by the Transfer of Land Amendment Act 2022 (amending the Transfer of Land Act 1893) is the removal of “paper” Duplicate Titles from the land conveyancing process in Western Australia.
Interestingly, Duplicate Titles have been optional since 1996. WA has been transitioning to this point for a long time. Finally removing Duplicate Titles will clarify and simplify conveyancing in a way that does not detract from the integrity and security of the WA land Register. The change also aligns WA with ongoing advancements in electronic conveyancing around Australia.
What to do with your existing Duplicate Certificates
Duplicate Titles that existed before Monday, 7 August 2023 are automatically rendered invalid. They DO NOT need to be returned to Landgate or destroyed.
Practically, what does this mean?
From Monday, 7 August 2023, anyone with a Duplicate Title need NOT take any action. There is NO change to the way registered proprietors, encumbrances and other interests in land are recorded and searched on Certificates of Titles in the land titles Register. Land transaction documents which have been lodged with Landgate, but which remain unregistered by close of business on Friday, 4 August 2023 will not be able to create or issue Duplicate Titles.
In the meantime
Until Monday, 7 August 2023, registration requirements continue to apply for all documents lodged until the changes take effect. However, with Duplicate Titles no longer having any legal effect on and after Monday, 7 August 2023, Landgate recommends NOT lodging applications to replace lost Duplicate Titles or Applications to issue Duplicate Titles leading up to August UNLESS required for a land transaction or settlement taking place on or before Friday, 4 August 2023.
Landowners can retain Duplicate Titles as a historical keepsake if they wish.