The Land Transfer Act 2017 came into force on 12 November 2018. The Land Transfer Act 1952 has long been due for review and the new Act is the outcome of this review process. Some of the more noticeable changes introduced by the new Act are set out below.
Terms we are all used to such as ‘Certificate of Title’ and ‘Registered Proprietor’ are now replaced with the definitions ‘Record of Title’ and ‘Registered Owner’. For easements, the phrases ‘benefitted land’ and ‘burdened land’ replace ‘dominant tenement’ and ‘servient tenement’. This is a move to more modern wording that is easier for people to understand.
Covenants in gross
Many of our clients are familiar with the concept of land covenants. These are effectively rules governing what people can and can’t do with their properties, and are relevant to many residential subdivisions. The new Act now allows these rules to be registered in favour of the developer, rather than other parcels of land within the subdivision. This means that the developer will still be able to enforce the rules even once it has sold all of the lots that are subject to the land covenant. This was not previously the case, leading to some issues as to who the ‘enforcer’ of land covenants was.
Registrar’s Ability to Withhold Registered Owner Details
On application, in certain circumstances, the Registrar-General of Land now has the ability to withhold otherwise publicly available information (such as the registered owner of the land) where the release of such information could jeopardise the safety of a person. Previously the scope of withholding landowner details had been limited to the scope of the Domestic Violence Act 1995.
Cancellation of certain land transactions where “manifest injustice”
In certain circumstances, the High Court will have the power to make an order cancelling a transaction, where not to do so would cause “manifest injustice”. However, the Court cannot retrospectively alter titles where a third party (acting in good faith) has subsequently received a transfer of the land.
If you would like to discuss this article or any of the other changes brought about by the Land Transfer Act 2017, please do not hesitate to contact us – Associate Chris Egden (DDI 03 343 8584 / firstname.lastname@example.org).