In 2010 and 2011, two Western Australian properties were fraudulently sold without the consent of the owners in high-profile scams. The problem of identity theft was suddenly a pressing concern for WA regulators and businesses.
In response, Landgate and other government agencies introduced strong Verification Of Identity (VOI) checks for anyone wanting to sell land in WA. Completing these checks is a compulsory step in the land transaction process. It appears that the new measures are working – the state Auditor-General’s February 2015 report confirms a low risk of property fraud.
Let’s take a look at the detail of the VOI requirements.
Timing is crucial! VOI documents need to be completed before the transfer of land documents are lodged at Landgate. Your settlement representative will ensure that you complete the VOI process in good time for settlement.
As a seller, you are required to produce current, original identity documents. A current Australian passport AND an Australian Driver’s Licence (with photo) are the “gold standard” identity documents. If you don’t have these documents, a list of other identity documents that meet the revised Identity Standard are located here.
If you aren’t able to produce the ID documents listed, you may require a statutory declaration. Your settlement agent will advise you in this situation.
Copies of original identity documents are not acceptable.
The VOI must be carried out in person by either:
By presenting the documents in person, you can be visually cross-referenced with the identity documents that you are presenting.
If you are outside Australia, the verification of identity and the witnessing of land transfer document must be conducted by an Australian Consular Officer. You will still need to produce an original passport and driver’s licence (or other documents that meet the standard) and a Rates Notice for the property issued by the local government. You should discuss this process with your settlement agent before attending the consular office.