Do I have to convert a General Law title?

A General Law title came about from land sold by the Crown (State of Victoria) prior to the introduction of the Torrens system in 1862.

General Law titles are based on a common law system, which originated in England. The General Law title system relies on a ‘chain of deeds’ to prove ownership. This ‘chain’ is made up of all documents since the land was sold by the Crown, and is still valid proof of ownership.

From 1 January 2000, conversion of General Law titles became mandatory in order to be able to register a transfer of ownership. Therefore, if you purchase a property which is still in the General Law title system, then the title must be converted from General Law to Torrens title before settlement can take place.

How do I to convert a General Law title to Torrens title?

There are different ways in which General Law titles can be converted, but the most common way is by an application under section 14 of the Transfer of Land Act 1958 (Vic).

Under a section 14 application, the following is required:

(a)          Conversion search – You Legal Representative needs to obtain a title search to establish your right to deal with the land. This means a manual search of the records is to be completed at the Registrar General’s office in order to prepare a search report;

(b)          Inspect the Chain of Title – Once the conversion search has been completed, your Legal Representative will need to search this against the original documents. The original documents are call a “Chain of Title”;

(c)          Solicitor’s Certificate – A Solicitor’s Certificate is then prepared by the Legal Representative to confer all is in order with the Chain of Title and that there is no break in the Chain.

(d)          Registration – All the documents prepared by the Legal Representative is then lodged along with a Conversion Application to Land Use Victoria, upon which a new Torrens title is produced.

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