The rules vary around Australia, but in general, most Title Registry forms including a land transfer form or mortgage form, need to be signed and dated in the presence of a witness. Specific rules apply about who can witness these documents.
If the paperwork is being completed in Australia, the witness may need to meet a number of criteria depending on where you are located. In some cases, witnesses need to fall into one of these categories:
- a Justice of the Peace
- a commissioner for declarations
- an Australian lawyer
- a notary public
- a licensed conveyancer, or
- another person approved by the Registrar of Titles.
However, in some states such as NSW, a witness can be any adult who has known you for 12 months – it does not have to be a qualified person.
If your form is being witnessed outside Australia, check the requirements with your legal rep. As a guide, the witness may need to be either:
- an Australian consular officer or authorised employee of the Australian Government
- a notary public
- an Australian lawyer, or
- a New Zealand lawyer.
Finding a qualified witnessing officer
In some cases, your Mortgage Choice broker may also be a Justice of the Peace, and may be happy to act as a qualified to witness your documents. Where that’s not the case, your broker may be able to refer you to a suitable witness.
As a home buyer, it can help to identify a JP in your area. This helps for those times when you may be asked to provide a Statutory Declaration for supporting documents that are part of your home loan application. This can happen for instance, when first home buyers receive a contribution of cash towards their home from family members, and a statutory declaration is needed to show that the money is a non-refundable gift.
Verification of Identity
By law, lenders are required to verify your identity when you apply for a home loan.
This process can differ between lenders, but the good news is that Mortgage Choice brokers use ZipID technology, which means your ID can be verified when you first meet with your broker. It’s a great way to save time gathering certified copies of your passport, drivers licence or other pieces of personal ID.