Understanding Property Titles in Conveyancing
Property Titles in Conveyancing: A Comprehensive Guide
January 24, 2024
Property Titles in Conveyancing: A Comprehensive Guide

When it comes to buying or selling property, understanding property titles is essential. Property titles are at the core of the conveyancing process, which is the legal transfer of property ownership.

This article aims to shed light on the various types of property titles and their role in conveyancing in Sydney.

Property Title Basics

Defining Property Titles

Property titles, often referred to as land titles, are legal documents that establish ownership of a piece of real estate. They contain essential information about the property, including its boundaries, dimensions, and ownership history.

Types of Property Titles

1. Torrens Title: The most common type of property title in Australia, the Torrens Title system provides a high level of ownership security and simplifies property transactions.

2. Strata Title: Typically associated with apartments and townhouses, Strata Title defines ownership of individual units within a building or complex.

3. Community Title: This title is used for developments with shared facilities and land, such as gated communities or residential estates.

4. Old System Title: An older form of property title, the Old System Title is less common today but may still exist for some properties. It lacks the modern protections of Torrens Title.

Torrens Title

Origins and Purpose

The Torrens Title system was introduced in the 19th century to address issues of property fraud and uncertainty in land ownership. It aimed to simplify property transactions and provide a comprehensive, government-backed register of land ownership.

Characteristics of Torrens Title

Properties under Torrens Title are registered with the New South Wales Land and Property Information (LPI) office. Each property has a unique title reference, and ownership changes are recorded in the Torrens Title register.

Registering a Torrens Title

To transfer ownership of a property with a Torrens Title, a seller must complete a contract for sale, and the transfer is then registered with the LPI. This registration guarantees the authenticity of the transaction.

Advantages and Considerations

The Torrens Title system offers security and transparency to property owners, making it easier to prove ownership and resolve disputes. However, this system is not immune to issues such as encumbrances, easements, or other claims against the title.

Strata Title

Introduction to Strata Title

Strata Title is commonly associated with multi-unit residential buildings. Under this system, property owners have exclusive ownership of their individual unit and a shared interest in common areas like corridors, elevators, and gardens.

Ownership Structure

Owners of Strata Title properties are part of a body corporate or owners’ corporation, responsible for managing the common areas and enforcing by-laws.

Common Areas and Lots

Understanding the boundaries between common property and individual lots is essential in Strata Title properties. Common property can include parking lots, swimming pools, and shared gardens.

Managing Strata Title Properties

Owners’ corporations are responsible for decisions related to the maintenance and administration of common property. Strata managers are often appointed to assist with these tasks.

Key Points for Buyers and Sellers

Buyers and sellers of Strata Title properties should carefully review the by-laws, financial statements, and administrative details of the owners’ corporation to ensure a smooth transaction.

Community Title

Exploring Community Title

Community Title is used for developments where residents share common facilities like recreational areas or security gates. It’s a hybrid between Strata Title and Torrens Title, offering more flexibility in property design.

How It Differs from Strata

While similar to Strata Title, Community Title has more extensive common property and may include different types of property, such as houses, townhouses, and apartments.

Shared Facilities and Responsibilities

In Community Title developments, residents share the cost of maintaining common facilities and adhere to community by-laws.

Legal Considerations

When buying or selling a property with a Community Title, understanding the shared responsibilities and potential disputes related to common facilities is crucial.

Old System Title

Historical Perspective

Old System Title is an older form of land ownership documentation that predates the Torrens Title system. Properties with Old System Titles may have a more complex ownership history.

Complexity and Risks

Old System Titles can be challenging to navigate due to their historical nature, and they may carry unforeseen risks related to unresolved land disputes.

Transition to Torrens Title

In some cases, properties with Old System Titles can be converted to Torrens Title through a legal process known as “conversion.” This transition aims to simplify property transactions and resolve historical uncertainties.

The Role of Property Titles in Conveyancing

Title Searches

One of the critical steps in the conveyancing process is conducting a title search. This involves investigating the property’s title to ensure it is free of any encumbrances or legal issues that could affect the transaction.

Title Certificates

Title certificates provide a snapshot of the property’s ownership and legal status. They are crucial for both buyers and sellers to understand the property’s history.

Title Insurance

Title insurance offers protection against potential title defects or legal claims that may arise after the property purchase. It provides peace of mind to property owners.

Common Title Issues in Conveyancing


Encumbrances are restrictions or claims on a property’s title. These can include easements, mortgages, or caveats placed by third parties.


Easements grant specific rights to third parties, such as access to a portion of the property for utilities or shared driveways.


Covenants are legally binding agreements that dictate what can and cannot be done on a property, often concerning its use, appearance, or development.


A caveat is a legal notice registered on a property title to prevent any further dealings with the property without the caveator’s consent.

Title Transfers in Conveyancing

The Conveyancing Process

The process of transferring property titles in conveyancing includes various steps, from contract negotiation and property inspections to settlement and title registration.

Transferring Property Titles

Transferring property titles involves the legal transfer of ownership from the seller to the buyer. This process must adhere to all legal requirements and documentation.

Legal Aspects and Documentation

Completing property title transfers requires thorough documentation, including contracts, deeds, and other legal paperwork.

Final Thoughts

In conclusion, property titles are the foundation of property ownership and transactions in Sydney. Whether it’s Torrens, Strata, Community, or Old System Title, understanding the intricacies and potential issues related to each type is crucial for a successful property transaction.

It’s recommended to seek professional guidance from conveyancers and legal experts to navigate the complexities of property conveyancing and ensure a smooth and legally sound property purchase or sale.

Don’t hesitate to reach out to our conveyancing lawyers at IgnIfy Legal to discuss your needs and gather the information necessary to make a final decision. With the right legal support, you can navigate the complexities of property transactions with confidence and peace of mind.

Please call us today at (02) 8319 1032 or submit an online enquiry.

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