COVID-19 Property and Conveyancing Services updates


COVID-19 Emergency Response (Commercial Leases No.2) Regulations 2020; and
Changes to the Development Act 1993 within the COVID-19 Emergency Response (Further Measures) Amendment Act 2020

Posted 15 May 2020 

The COVID-19 Emergency Response (Commercial Leases No.2) Regulations 2020 and COVID-19 Emergency Response (Further Measures) Amendment Act 2020 which contains change to the Development Act 1993 were gazetted and came into effect on 15 May 2020.

The Society made two submissions to the Attorney-General in relation to the adoption of the National Cabinet Mandatory Code of Conduct regarding SME Commercial Leasing Principles During COVID-19 (“the Code”). Refer the submissions of 8 May 2020 and 12 May 2020.

The submissions were prepared at the instigation of and with the assistance of its Property Committee, which expressed concerns that the current measures did not make any provision for rent relief to a tenant suffering hardship due to the COVID-19 pandemic.  In its submission of 12 May 2020 the Society noted the proposed regulations failed to adequately reflect the Code and address uncertainties for parties trying to negotiate commercial lease terms during the COVID-19 pandemic.  

The Regulations refer to the provisions of the National Cabinet Mandatory Code of Conduct – SMA Commercial Leasing Principles During COVIC-19 published on 7 April 2020 available here. The Small Business Commissioner (SBC) has summarised the import of the Regulations on the SBC website. The document includes a “COVID-19 Guidance Note – Commercial Information” produced by the SBC for parties to a lease in relation to the provision of financial information to assist negotiations.

GST at settlement - What to do during COVID-19 closedown 

Posted 7 April 2020 

The Australian Taxation Office has provided advice in relation to GST at settlement procedures during COVID-19 for buying or selling new residential property or land. Read More (Members Only)...

Standard Property Documents - COVID-19 Annexures

Posted 3 April 2020 

The Property Committee has prepared COVID 19 Annexures for each of the residential and non-residential Contracts of the Sale and Purchase of Land, which are available to those who subscribe to the Society’s suite of Standard Property Documents. Visit the Standard Property Documents page to subscribe and access the annexures.


Australian Registrars National Electronic Conveyancing Council

Posted 24 March 2020

Please find
attached a statement from the Australian Registrars National Electronic Conveyancing Council. It provides guidance in relation to concerns regarding the face-to-face identity verification regime and signing of Client Authorisations. 

Land Services SA

Posted 23 March 2020 

The Registrar-General has advised that the Settlements Room and the overflow Room at Grenfell Street would close at 5pm today. Refer 
Customer Information Bulletin No 340, published today.

Land Services SA has subsequently released a Customer Bulletin, “Dealing with Residual Paper Settlements”, designed to assist in dealing with residual paper settlements.  It is reproduced below.

Earlier this morning a teleconference was facilitated by AICSA to work through the near-term logistical matters that have arisen as a consequence of the closure of the Settlements Room at 101 Grenfell Street Adelaide.

This meeting was attended by representatives from Land Services SA, the Office of the Registrar-General, conveyancers, lawyers, financial institutions, Electronic Lodgement Network Operators and broader market participants.

The below information is provided to assist in dealing with residual paper settlements over the coming weeks, however these arrangements may change with very little notice as the COVID-19 situation evolves. As such, where possible, clients should be converting settlements to the digital channel.

Settlements will be split across multiple locations to restrict the number of people gathering in accordance with Government and health guidelines. The agreed protocol will be to attend the premises of the Discharging Mortgagee or Vendor if the property is unencumbered.

Please CLICK HERE to view SAI Global’s customer notice.

For your own health and safety, it is strongly encouraged that where possible, all work in progress be converted and lodged electronically, and that you reconsider attending the residual paper settlements in person if you are feeling unwell.

We appreciate that there are many concerns around COVID-19 and we wish to reassure you that the maintenance of a healthy and safe environment and the protection of our employees and customers remain our priority. To maintain the safety of our staff, other customers and tenants of 101 Grenfell Street, we ask clients not to congregate in large groups in our foyer or other common areas of the 101 Grenfell Street tenancy.

Land Services SA continues to monitor the quickly evolving circumstances and will notify you of any changes to our services in response to COVID-19.

Registrar General – Closure of the Settlements Room – 5pm today!

Posted 20 March 2020 

The Registrar-General has advised today that the Settlements Room and the overflow Room at Grenfell Street will close at 5pm today.  At this stage, the Drop & Go and face-to-face lodgment services provided by Land Services remain unchanged.  Refer Customer Information Bulletin No 340, published today.

Conveyancing practices 

Posted 18 March 2020 

Practitioners who practise in conveyancing should keep in mind the potential for the spread of COVID-19 to disrupt the industry including Lands Titles dealings and the finance of these.  Any disruption to these processes may also lessen the client experience which may reflect badly upon the practitioner including his or her firm.  Given the potential for this disruption, the Society recommends practitioners consider remote electronic dealings with the land registry wherever this is possible.  Electronic lodgement provides a wide range of flexibility and is a worthwhile risk abatement measure as the practitioner, including his or her staff, will be able to avoid attendance in the LTO settlement room which is not only a constrained area but can be densely populated from time to time. 

Practitioners are referred to the web page of each of PEXA and Sympli in order to familiarise themselves with the range of online lodgement services that are available, and also, the procedure to subscribe to these services.  Furthermore, practitioners should be alert to any directions which may issue from the Office of the Registrar General or Land Services SA.  Customer Information Bulletin #339 from Land Services SA is attached.