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What is electronic lodgment?
Electronic lodgment is part of electronic conveyancing. It is the use of an Electronic Lodgment Network (ELN) to lodge transactions (instruments) with the Land Registry in Victoria.
Conveyancing transactions include transfers of land, mortgages, caveats, survivorships, applications by legal personal representatives, as well as plans of subdivision, survey-based applications and applications to record planning agreements.
Electronic lodgment is underpinned by the electronic conveyancing legal framework.
What's an Electronic Lodgment Network (ELN)?
Under the Electronic Conveyancing National Law (Victoria) the Registrar of Titles can operate an ELN or approve Electronic Lodgment Network Operators (ELNOs) to operate an ELN.
An ELN is a digital platform for Subscribers to collaborate on the preparation of instruments for lodgment with the Land Registry.
The Operating Requirements set out the rules an ELNO must comply with. An ELNO’s compliance with the Operating Requirements is audited annually.
The Participation Rules set out the rules Subscribers, users of an ELN, must comply with. The Land Registry in Victoria aims to audit each Subscriber’s compliance with the Participation Rules at least every three years.
Under section 106A of the Transfer of Land Act 1958, the Registrar of Titles determined version of the Registrar's requirement for paper conveyancing transactions. This document sets out which instruments must be lodged electronically by conveyancers, lawyers, authorised deposit-taking institutions (ADIs) and other Subscribers to an ELN.
The Registrar will not accept paper lodgment of any such instruments (including residual documents) except in cases where they can’t be lodged using an ELN. Acceptable reasons are set out in the Request to accept paper lodgment form (DOCX, 53.4 KB).
There are currently three ELNs active in Victoria and each allows a Subscriber to lodge certain transactions.
Property Exchange Australia Ltd (PEXA) and Sympli Australia Pty Ltd (Sympli)
PEXA’s online platform allows for the lodgment of nearly all instrument types with the Land Registry.
Sympli's online platform allows for the lodgment of small subset of instrument types with the Land Registry.
Surveying and Planning through Electronic Applications and Referrals (SPEAR)
SPEAR is managed by the Registrar of Titles and was originally designed as an online platform for streamlining the subdivision planning permit process.
It allows surveyors to process and track planning permits and subdivision applications online. It also allows the submission of plans of subdivision and other plans under the Subdivision Act 1988 to the Land Registry.
SPEAR expanded to allow the lodgment of instruments related to plans of subdivision when it became an ELN in 2017. Lodgment to the Land Registry can occur in SPEAR as soon as the application has been released for lodgment. This occurs when the council has certified the plan and issued a Statement of Compliance (SOC).
The SPEAR ELN has been expanded to allow the lodgment of other plans under the Subdivision Act 1988 and other survey-based applications.
You can see which transactions are available through each ELNO on our fees, guides and forms page.
Becoming a Subscriber to an Electronic Lodgment Network (ELN)
To lodge electronically you must first become an ELN Subscriber. To begin the process of becoming an ELN subscriber, applicants must become familiar with and satisfy the eligibility requirements set out in the Participation Rules (DOCX, 1.2 MB) and then make contact with the Electronic Lodgment Network Operator (ELNO) who operates the ELN they wish to subscribe to or the SPEAR team for the SPEAR ELN.
Please note: Becoming an ELN Subscriber can take several weeks as there are a number of stages. Depending on the ELN, there may be additional requirements, such as applying for a digital signing certificate or registering for other systems like the State Revenue Office’s Duties Online (DOL).
Lodging in an ELN
Once approved to use an ELN, a Subscriber can prepare instruments for lodgment with the Land Registry.
We remind ELN Subscribers that the legislative requirements for an electronic instrument are the same as those for a paper instrument. Subscribers must ensure their lodgment case contains all the required documents and certify the correctness of the information provided. The transaction must be digitally signed. For conveyancers and lawyers, practitioner regulators have set out who can sign subscriber entitled to sign Registry Instruments.
All parties to a conveyancing transaction must have their identity verified. When a conveyancer or lawyer represents a client, the conveyancer or lawyer must take reasonable steps to verify the identity of their client and have a Client Authorisation. Find out more on our verification of identity page.
A Client Authorisation authorises the conveyancer or lawyer to act as the client’s agent and to sign electronic instruments on their behalf.
Client Authorisations allow a conveyancer or lawyer to:
- execute a specific instrument
- execute a batch of instruments
- establish a standing authority until revoked
The client authorisation form is available as both a flatform and a smartform on the ARNECC website.
A Client Authorisation is optional for caveats and priority notices.
What happens when an instrument is lodged electronically?
Before the instrument is lodged, data is checked with the Victorian Online Title System (VOTS). The validation checks have been determined by the Registrar of Titles and give the ELN Subscriber some certainty that the instrument will lodge. If a pre-lodgment validation fails, the Subscriber receives notification of why.
Following lodgment, electronic instruments are then electronically examined following the Registrar of Titles’ electronic examination rules. In some cases they will also be manually examined.
Many electronic instruments, such as transfers, mortgages, discharge of mortgage, caveats, withdrawals of caveats, transmission and survivorship applications, are registered or recorded very soon after lodgment.
Nearly all remaining instrument types can either be lodged as a residual document or be lodged in SPEAR. Currently all residual documents and SPEAR instruments are manually examined after lodgment.
You can see which transactions are available through each ELN on our fees, guides and forms page.
Apart from in SPEAR, currently residual documents can only be lodged on their own. The guide to residual documents (DOCX, 264.6 KB) provides all details of supporting documents and specific requirements for each residual document.
Following registration of an electronic instrument a registration confirmation statement is issued to the lodging party or Responsible Subscriber.
We also allow submission of paper instruments using a generic residual document available in PEXA.
Subscriber Compliance Examinations
A Subscriber Compliance Examination monitors that Subscribers are meeting their obligations under the Participation Rules and includes:
- Client Authorisations
- verification of identity
- verifying the right to deal
- retention of supporting evidence
The purpose of the compliance examination program is to:
- assist Subscribers in meeting their obligations and responsibilities under the Participation Rules
- build trust and confidence in the ELN
Subscribers can be chosen at random or targeted based on one or more factors.
Details of compliance examinations are set out in the Electronic Conveyancing National Law (Victoria) and the Participation Rules (DOCX, 1.2 MB). Subscribers should also refer to ‘Guidance Note #6 - Compliance Examinations’ under ‘MPR Guidance Notes’ on the ARNECC website.
Page last updated: 24/11/22