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How the new ‘verification of identity’ laws affect you

In 20 years from now, proving that you are who you say you are may be as simple as scanning a fingerprint. Technology is evolving to keep pace with our modern world and as a result, verifying our identity is a likely candidate for digital transformation.

For now, however, we have to make do with the old way of doing things. In fact, lawmakers have decided that we need to go one step further and take additional actions to verify our identification, in an ongoing effort to thwart the increasing risk of identity theft.

The new standard for verifying identity

Earlier this year, the NSW Land and Property Information (LPI) introduced new Conveyancing Rules under section 12E of the Real Property Act.

These rules surround verification of identity (VOI) procedures and the VOI standard for verification of client identity in conveyancing. This process has been adopted by several states, including New South Wales, Victoria and Queensland, while Western Australia and South Australia also have similar processes in place.

The new VOI standard requires a face-to-face verification as well as original identity documents from set, specific categories. Conveyancers are now also required to store evidence of verification for seven years.

This replaces the previous ‘100 point‘ system that most of us are familiar with, under which a person was required to provide at least 100 points of identification from a range of documents, such as a birth certificate, passport, driver’s license, Medicare card or bank statement.

How does this change impact you?

Overall, this requirement shouldn’t impact you as a property buyer or seller in an overly onerous way.

Some clients have reported that they felt the new process was excessive or time-consuming, due to the additional paperwork required. Aside from producing original documents, clients are now required to attend a face-to-face interview with their lawyer or conveyancer (or any such agent as the lawyer or conveyancer may appoint) and have their photograph taken for verification and storage purposes, as legal representatives are required to securely retain a copy of the verification of identity for seven years as a document supporting the dealing.

However, once this initial meeting and verification process is completed, your VOI remains on file for two years, meaning you don’t have to repeat the process regardless of how many properties you transact across that period. If you sell your home, for instance, your VOI can be used without any further input from you when you buy a new home six months later.

Furthermore, the rise of the VOI standard suggests that the industry is taking positive strides forward to ensure that electronic conveyancing is as secure as the traditional, paper-based method. At Conveyancing.com.au, where we offer a convenient online service that saves you time and money, we believe these changes will ultimately benefit our clients.

Our lawyers are committed to delivering an exceptional customer experience to you, whether you’re buying or selling property. To this end, we always aim to make every step of the process as simple and efficient as possible, so if you have any questions or concerns about the new VOI standards or require more information, don’t hesitate to contact our friendly team on 1300 932 738. You can also contact us online here.

This article is provided for general information purposes only. Its content is current at the date of publication. It is not legal advice and is not tailored to meet your individual needs. You should obtain specialist advice based on your specific circumstances before taking any action concerning the matters discussed in this article.

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