Registrar's caveats and freezing orders

The Registrar can enter caveats in certain circumstances to prevent fraud or improper dealing (including to support orders made by the Courts to freeze assets).

Section 149 of the Land Transfer Act 2017 (LTA) allows the Registrar to enter caveats in certain circumstances, for example, to prevent fraud or improper dealing.

Freezing Orders, injunctions and orders made under s43 of the Property (Relationships) Act 1976 can be used as t the basis for a Registrar’s caveat. 

Effect of a Registrar’s caveat

A Registrar’s caveat prevents further registration against the affected title or interest, except where the Registrar is satisfied that registration of a dealing will not prejudice the person in whose favour the caveat has been lodged.

When pre-validating a dealing affecting a record of title subject to a Registrar’s caveat, Landonline identify the presence of the caveat and the dealing will step down to ‘Lodge’ for review by us. If the caveat prevents registration the dealing will be rejected. If the caveat does not prevent registration, the dealing will be registered.

Sections 138-148 LTA do not apply to Registrar’s caveats, which includes the lapsing process under s143 and the caveator consent provisions under s145.

How to request a Registrar’s caveat

Practitioners can request a Registrar’s caveat in writing:

  • via Request in your Landonline workspace - use the Request type: Titles Information, or
  • by email to (including Freezing Order or RGL Caveat in the subject line will assist our customer support team to locate your request more quickly).

The request should:

  • include sufficient evidence to support the grounds for the caveat e.g. a PDF copy of a Freezing Order by the High or District Court, and
  • specify the records of title affected.

Upon receipt of the request and supporting evidence, we may place a Departmental Dealing against the relevant records of title until the caveat is approved and ready for entry. The Registrar may require further information before agreeing to lodge the caveat. Once the request has been accepted, there is no further action required by the applicant or practitioner. 

Once a caveat has been noted, we will notify the registered owner that the caveat has been entered, as required by s150 LTA.

Freezing Orders

The High Court and District Court Rules make no provision for a Freezing Order (still also referred to as a ‘Mareva’ Injunction in the District Court Rules) to be registered. If a Freezing Order is lodged for registration as a Court Order, we will reject it, or ask you to withdraw the dealing.

A Freezing Order also cannot be used as the grounds for a caveat against dealings as a Freezing Order does not create an interest in land for the purposes of s138(1) LTA.  A Freezing Order may be used to support a Registrar’s caveat however.

Freezing Orders are often of limited duration. If an extension or variation to the Freezing Order is obtained, the Registrar must be informed in order to maintain the Registrar’s caveat. In such cases, you should:

  • contact us in writing (either by emailing the person at Toitū Te Whenua you have been dealing with directly, or by using one of the methods above), clearly stating: “Freezing Order Extension/Variation - for the attention of the Registrar-General of Land”, and
  • provide a coloured PDF copy of the Extension or Variation Order.

Removal of Registrar’s caveat

Only the Registrar can withdraw a Registrar’s caveat. If the caveat no longer serves a purpose and can be withdrawn, the practitioner acting for the person who sought the caveat should contact us requesting the caveat be withdrawn. 

If a Freezing Order ceases to have effect, either because it has been discharged or the time period it applied for has elapsed, a request to withdraw the caveat should be made.

If a Discharge Order is obtained a coloured PDF copy of the Discharge Order should be provided to us using one of the contact methods above, clearly stating “Freezing Order Discharge - for the attention of the Registrar-General of Land”.

More information

If you have any questions about a Registrar’s caveat affecting a title, you should submit your questions as a “Titles Information” request from your Landonline Workspace.