Land Transfer Act 2017

The Land Transfer Act 2017 (the Act) governs how land ownership is registered in New Zealand. The Act simplified the previous legislation to make it more accessible, while maintaining certainty of property rights and enabling the register to be managed electronically.

The Act brought in a number of reforms proposed by the Law Commission in its report ‘A New Land Transfer Act’. The report resulted from the review of the Land Transfer Act 1952 carried out by the Commission in conjunction with LINZ and the Ministry of Justice.

The Act was passed in July 2017 and came into force on Monday 12 November 2018. It consolidated and replaced the Land Transfer Act 1952, Land Transfer Amendment Act 1963, and Land Transfer (Computer Register and Electronic Lodgement) Amendment Act 2002 as New Zealand’s statutory system for registering land titles.

The Act retains the fundamentals of our Torrens based land registration system. In this way, registered landowners continue to benefit from the protection of state guaranteed title backed by a statutory compensation regime. The legislation allows the register to be administered and updated in a digital environment, so it is able to adapt to changes in conveyancing and land registration work practices and developments in technology.

What’s changed under the Act

The key changes under the Act included:

  • new terms and definitions including ‘record of title’
  • clarification of the Registrar-General of Land’s powers of correction
  • a definition of ‘fraud’ which effectively aligns it to current case law
  • changes to the compensation rules regarding assessment or valuation of loss
  • limited discretion for the High Court to return a title to a former owner in cases of manifest injustice
  • provision for covenants in gross to be noted on the title in the same way that other land covenants are
  • protections for people who need to have their landownership details withheld on the grounds of safety.

Regulations supporting the Act

The Land Transfer Act 2017 includes extensive regulation-making powers to support the administration of the land registration system, as provided in section 227. When the Act came into force it revoked the Land Transfer Regulations 2002 and replaced the Land Transfer Act 1952.

The Land Transfer Regulations 2018 prescribe various matters required to administer the land registration process including:

  • requirements for land transfer instruments (both electronic and paper based)
  • certification of instruments for the purposes of the Act
  • applications relating to corrections, change of name, merger, cancellations, and so on
  • rights and powers implied in easements
  • fees (which remained the same)
  • transitional matters.

The new regulations came into effect when the Act commenced on 12 November 2018.

Standards, directives, guidelines and forms supporting the Act

Under section 236 of the Act the Registrar-General of Land now holds the authority to set the standards and directives needed to enable the Act and other matters.

The standards, directives, guidelines and forms page includes guidance that supports the Act. The forms are available as pdfs or you can complete them online.

How were the standards and directives created?

Standards and directives have legislative effect and are disallowable instruments for the purposes of the Legislation Act 2012. The standard setting process requires consultation with organisations representing those affected.

We ran a consultation process that opened in March 2018 on the proposed standards and directives which covered such matters as:

  • identification verification
  • certification and evidence retention
  • accretion application, and
  • requisition periods.

Guidelines and forms

The standards, directives and guidelines

Landonline release and system updates

We published releases notes for conveyancers to outline the key changes made in Landonline to enable the Act and the associated Land Transfer Regulations 2018.


We have produced factsheets for surveyors and e-dealing users about how the Land Transfer Act 2017 (LTA 2017) was implemented, and the transition processes to support it.

If you have further questions contact Toitū Te Whenua customer support.