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Verification of Identity

Verification of Identity (VOI) comes into effect in Victoria on 9th November 2015 for paper transactions.

Click here to see Verification of Identity (VOI) changes in New South Wales from 9 November 2015
 
For Victorian Property Lawyers and Conveyancers representing clients buying, selling or transferring property, we understand that these new requirements will propose changes to your existing business processes. The new processes in which you decide to implement and how you remain compliant will depend entirely on your business’s workflow and what will work best to align with your current practices.
As part of the move to align electronic and paper conveyancing, Land Registrars are formalising their policies on Verification of Identity (VOI). These policies ensure security and integrity of conveyancing practice by reducing the risk of identity fraud or registration of fraudulent land transactions for paper-based dealings.
Formal VOI requirements are already in place in South Australia and Western Australia, and have been a part of Queensland Land Titles practice for over 10 years with respect to witnessing and execution of documents. A similar policy will be introduced in Victoria for all instruments signed on or after 9th November 2015.
 
From this date the Registrar’s requirements, which were published 30th September 2015, state that the following people need to be verified;
  • Clients - must identify each client for which they have authority to sign on behalf of
  • Mortgagors - If a subscriber is representing a Mortgagee it must verify the identity of the Mortgagor or their agent.
  • Persons to whom Certificates of Title are provided - must verify the identity of any Client or Client Agent before providing them a duplicate or paper Certificate of Title.
  • Signers - must verify the identity of each of its Signers, prior to the initial allocation of their authority to act as a Signer.

VOI is not new, as prudent practice already requires Conveyancers and Legal Practitioners to take reasonable steps to verify the identity of each of their clients. The commencement of the above VOI practice is just formalising and reinforcing this.

“Reasonable Steps” is a commonly used legal term defined as the taking of normal steps in the ordinary course of a business. Whether reasonable steps were taken will be a question of fact, depending on the circumstances of the individual case, and would be determined by a Court on an objective basis.
 
While it is recommended that Conveyancing and Legal representatives undertake the VOI by following the VOI standard (as described in Schedule 8 within Version 3 of the Model Participation Rules (MPR) set by ARNECC), it is not mandatory. They have the option to design their own VOI business process that would be considered as having taken  “reasonable steps”. They also have the option is to utilise the services offered by an approved Identity Agent. Approved Identity Agents must carry a minimum of $20 million insurance to cover negligence and dishonesty, and each approved Identity Agent provides a unique service. Legal representatives should facilitate the connection between the Client and the Identity Agent of choice, but ensure that they receive the Identity Agent certification back from their Client or the approved Identity Agent.
 
The VOI standard sets out the five categories of minimum document requirements, which need to be produced by the person undergoing the check, and states that it must be in a face to face interview. Documents must be current except for an Australian passport which can be accepted if it was current within the preceding 2 years. The highest category available must be chosen and lower level categories only used if the person does not possess the documents in a higher category. Copies must be made and be dated, signed and endorsed as a true copy of the original, and retained for a minimum period of 7 years from the date of lodgement.

Where a client has undergone a VOI check within the previous two years, another VOI is not necessary as long as their legal representative takes reasonable steps to determine they are dealing with the same person. This process could include reviewing the documentation previously provided.

Legal representatives are not required to bring physical proof to settlement that a VOI was undertaken. However, evidence of VOI and reasonable steps being taken will need and must be provided to the Registrar upon request.

Categories of Documents (For Persons who are Australian Citizens or residents)
Category 1
- A passport issued by the Australian Government or a foreign passport
plus Australian Driver’s Licence or Proof of Age/Photo Card
plus Change of Name or Marriage Certificate (if necessary).

Category 2

- A passport issued by the Australian Government or a foreign passport
plus full Birth Certificate or Citizenship Certificate or Descent Certificate
plus Medicare or Centrelink or Department of Veterans’ Affairs card
plus Change of Name or Marriage Certificate (if necessary).

Category 3
- Australian Driver’s Licence or Proof of Age/Photo Card
plus full Birth Certificate or Citizenship Certificate or Descent Certificate
plus Medicare or Centrelink or Department of Veterans’ Affairs card
plus change of name or marriage certificate (if necessary).
 
Category 4
a)
 - Australian Passport or foreign passport
 - plus another form of government issued photographic identity Document
 - plus Change of Name or Marriage Certificate if necessary
or
b)
- Australian Passport or foreign passport
- plus full Birth Certificate
- plus another form of government issued identity Document
- plus Change of Name or Marriage Certificate if necessary
Category 5
a)
- Identifier Declaration
plus full Birth Certificate or Citizenship Certificate or Descent Certificate
plus Medicare or Centrelink or Department of Veterans’ Affairs card
plus Change of Name or Marriage Certificate if necessary
or
b)
- Identifier Declaration by a Person specified in Verification of Identity Standard paragraph
4.4(e)
plus Medicare or Centrelink or Department of Veterans’ Affairs card
plus Change of Name or Marriage Certificate if necessary
Note: refer to Schedule 1 – Verification of Identity and the Verification of Identity Standard paragraph 4 in the Registrar’s requirements for restrictions on use of category 5.
Categories of Documents (For Persons who are not Australian Citizens or residents)
Category 6
a)
- Foreign passport
plus another form of government issued identity Document
plus Change of Name or Marriage Certificate if necessary
or
b)
- Foreign passport
plus full Birth Certificate
plus another form of government issued identity Document
plus Change of Name or Marriage Certificate if necessary.
For more information about how we can help, call our Helpdesk on 1300 730 000.
Verification of Identity (VOI) changes in New South Wales from 9 November 2015
The real Property Act 1900 required a Mortgagee to take reasonable Steps to confirm the identity of a Mortgagor. For Mortgages executed on or after 1st January 2015 a Mortgage is considered to have taken reasonable steps and all Mortgagee’s are obligated to comply with the steps set out in the Verification of Identity Standard
From Monday 9 November 2015 an amended table of minimum document requires for verification of identity takes effect. This coincides with the release of version 3 of the Model Participation rules for electronic transactions.
The summary of key changes are:

For more information about how we can help, call our Helpdesk on 1300 730 000.

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