The duplicate Certificate of Title can’t be trusted, so you should always do a Title Search. Here’s why.
Duplicate Certificates of Title (CTs) are issued to the client or their lender upon settlement of a property. Because the client or lender is holding the duplicate CT, changes that are made to the original during that time will not show on the duplicate.
Imagine this situation: a seller presents to you with a duplicate CT. So that you can show the CT to potential buyers and disclose any interests and notifications, you photocopy the duplicate CT. What’s wrong with this situation is this: your photocopy does not contain all the interests and notifications that show on the original CT.
The following interests and notifications may be missing from the duplicate CT:
- Takings (previously called resumptions)
- Property seizure and sale orders,
- Notifications lodged by government agencies. For example, notifications in regards to contaminated land, risk of mosquitoes and Ross River virus, land that’s subject to flooding, and land that’s affected by a flight path.
What’s more, if the Title was a lost Title and a new duplicate CT was issued, and then much later the old Title was found, it would not reflect any changes on the original CT that occurred since.
Being unaware of interests and notifications on a Title can have serious consequences. If you trust the duplicate CT, you could miss out on informing buyers of factors that could effect their use or enjoyment of the property. Depending on the specific situation, this might put the transaction at risk – or even lead to legal action being taken.
To protect your buyers, your sellers, and yourself, ensure that you don’t rely on the duplicate CT. Instead, carry out a Title Search for every property you list.
Image adapted from Gawler History via Flickr.