Verification of Identity in a COVID-19 Environment

24 Mar 2021

verification of identity during Covid

When is verification of identity required?

The verification of identity (VOI) process is mandated by Landgate and the Australian Registrars National Electronic Conveyancing Council (ARNECC) for all parties wishing to:

  • transfer or mortgage land in Western Australia;
  • make a transmission or survivorship application in relation to land in Western Australia;
  • lodge or withdraw a caveat over land in Western Australia;
  • request a duplicate certificate of title for land in Western Australia;
  • appoint a power of attorney in relation to land in Western Australia; or
  • otherwise deal with land by using an e-conveyancing platform such as PEXA.

Where the party wishing to undertake one of the above transactions is not an individual (e.g. is a company or incorporated association), the relevant signatories for that party must have their identities verified. In all cases, Murfett Legal must take reasonable steps to verify that the parties to the relevant transaction are legal persons and have the right to enter into the relevant transaction.

Where transacting parties have been represented by Murfett Legal on a continuous or ongoing basis, the VOI process will be required for the first and second transfers, but not for any subsequent transfers within the next 2 years.

How do I get my identity verified?

Parties located in Australia can have their identities verified by Murfett Legal or Australia Post. If Australia Post is more convenient for transacting parties, Murfett Legal will provide a VOI form to the parties for presentation to Australia Post.

Where parties are located outside of Australia, Landgate’s VOI standard requires parties to have their identities verified by an Australian Consular Officer.

In order to comply with Landgate and ARNECC’s VOI standards, parties being identified must produce current, original identity documents, such as:

  • driver’s licence and passport (and change of name/marriage certificate if necessary); or
  • birth certificate, driver’s licence, and Medicare card (and change of name/marriage certificate if necessary),

and present to the identifier (be it Murfett Legal, Australia Post or an Australian Consular Officer) for a visual “face to face” assessment of the identity documents against the person being identified. Ideally, this face to face assessment should occur immediately prior to the execution of the relevant document to be registered at Landgate to present the lowest risk of potential fraud.

What if I can’t attend a face to face meeting because of COVID-19?

Landgate has recognised that during the COVID-19 emergency, an in-person face to face VOI meeting may not be possible or safe. In the circumstances, where a physical face to face VOI meeting cannot be completed as a direct result of COVID-19, Murfett Legal can take “reasonable steps” to verify the identity of parties for both paper and electronic transactions.

Murfett Legal is equipped to undertake “reasonable steps” VOIs via video conferencing means where a physical face to face VOI meeting cannot be completed.

If you need a “reasonable steps” VOI, please contact Murfett Legal on +61 8 9388 3100 for further information as to what is required.

Note: The above is a summary for general information purposes only. It is not intended to be comprehensive or constitute legal advice. You should seek formal legal or other professional advice in relation to your particular circumstances before relying on the content of this article.

Author:  Lauren Evans (Senior Associate: Property & Real Estate)
Email:    [email protected]

Murfett Legal is a leading law firm in WA, providing services in litigation, corporate and commercial, employment and workplace relations, insolvency, debt collection, business restructuring, Wills & estates, property, leasing, settlements, liquor licensing and intellectual property.

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