Verification of identity and why it is so important is now mandated by law (Section 106A of the Transfer of Land Act 1958). “Verification of Identity” is of vital importance in this technological age. With the introduction of PEXA (Property Exchange Australia online conveyancing), completing a Verification of Identity (also known as “VOI”) is crucial in ensuring that everyone is who they claim to be. Face to face property transactions are soon to be a “thing of the past”, we now entrust online systems and programs to act on our behalves and, of course, we all want to know that the parties to the transaction have been sufficiently verified. As of 1st October 2018 all property transactions in Victoria must be completed via PEXA (online), with standalone transactions (no banks involved) being mandatory since March 2018.
The main purpose of carrying out VOI is to reduce the risk of identity fraud and the registration of fraudulent land transactions. It is now the responsibility of the conveyancer, lawyer or mortgagee to take all required reasonable steps to ensure that identity is verified.
VOI must be completed prior to settlement taking place. It is in your best interests to complete it as soon as possible, as no documents can be signed until this has occurred. Most settlement documents, including the Transfer of Land, are now signed by the Licenced Conveyancers or Lawyers on behalf of the client. These changes have been brought about to accompany introduction of the online systems; State Revenue Office Duties Online and PEXA. This signing cannot occur until the Conveyancer or Lawyer are in possession of the VOI and Client Authorisation Form. The Client Authorisation form will be provided to you by your Conveyancer/Lawyer, and involves a signature granting authority to that person to sign various settlement documents on your behalf.
How do I Verify my Identity?
To arrange for your identity to be verified you can attend any Australia Post office. We can provide you with an Australia Post Land Title Identity Verification form to submit to Australia Post together with the relevant identification.
Technology can increase effectiveness and efficiency in many areas including property transfers, but unfortunately when using online mediums we may be vulnerable to hackers and fraud. Reports from PEXA suggest that they are always monitoring and improving their security systems. From our end as the acting Lawyers and Conveyancers, we will be taking extra precautions such as verbally confirming bank account details with our clients. It is important to always be vigilant and to take due care in the processes of a property transfer, including the very initial stages of Identity Verification which is one of the foundations for the entire process.