Certificate of Title

A Certificate of Title is the official record of who owns a property, and contains information to do with the property such as who has owned it in the past, any easements (like, for water pipes, or telephone cables underground), any encumbrances (meaning anyone who has interest in the property, like the bank who gave you the mortgage), as well as the title’s unique reference details (this will usually be a volume and folio number).  The title will also show a plan, showing the size and position of the property.

Registering a Title

Once settlement has occurred, the Certificate of Title needs to be registered with the Titles Office in your state or territory in order for you to be recognised as the registered owner on the title to the property.

This is a standard part of the conveyancing that happens when you buy a property.

Purchasing a house with someone else

If you are purchasing a house with someone else you will need to consider whether you register your names on the title as tenants in common or as joint tenants, or if you only register the property in your own name.

Tenants in Common means that you legally own the property together (with either equal or unequal shares) but each party’s share in the property will be recognised as separate.  As such, each owner has the ability to sell or transfer their share to a third party, or leave their share of the property to whomever they have identified in their Will. If they do not have a Will, and therefore die intestate, their part of the property is dealt with in accordance with the intestacy laws.

Being Joint Tenants means that you own the property together (in equal shares), however if one of you dies, the deceased’s share of the property automatically transfers to the surviving owner regardless of what the deceased’s Will may say.

If only one name is registered on the Title, only one person will be recognised as the owner of the property.

Differences between states


For more information check out the following websites:


You can find information about titles through the Land Titles Office.

South Australia

In South Australia, property titles fall under three main categories – Torrens Title, Strata Title and Community Title. If you are planning to buy a home on its own block of land it is likely to be a Torrens Title property. If you buy a unit, flat, townhouse or apartment it may be strata or community title. A solicitor or conveyancer will be able to advise you on how the various types of title affect your ownership rights and responsibilities.

When inspecting a property, ask about the title. The agent or owner should have copies of the title and any other relevant document, which show restrictions or encumbrances on the land.