The land transfer register is a public register, which means anyone can search and view a record of title and any instruments recorded against it. In certain cases a title can be hidden so that it is unable to be viewed.
Due to the current COVID-19 restrictions, we understand it may be difficult to obtain statutory declarations, which may be required from a person applying to withhold their information (or supporting their application). Declarations are not compulsory at this time provided the grounds for the application are sufficiently set out.
If you are concerned for your safety you may apply to the Registrar-General of Land (RGL) to have your title withheld from the register if that information will disclose your whereabouts and prejudice your safety. While this usually relates to properties you own (e.g. your family or holiday home, or place of business), you can also apply to have other titles withheld from the register (e.g. the home of a close friend or relative where you may live temporarily or permanently).
If information is withheld from the register anyone searching for that title in Landonline, using LINZ’s title search service or searching using a commercial provider, will be unable to access it.
The RGL may agree to withhold your information from the register if your application is made in relation to:
- a protection order made by the Family Court or District Court under the Family Violence Act 2018 (previously the Domestic Violence Act 1993),
- a protection order made by a Court under the Sentencing Act 2002, or
- section 42 of the Land Transfer Act 2017 - that the publication of information that discloses or is likely to disclose your whereabouts may prejudice your safety or that of your family.
The RGL has published the Withholding Information Guideline 2018 – LINZG20781 setting out the requirements for applications, including sample application forms and statutory declarations.
What happens once an application to withhold is accepted?
Once an application to withhold information is accepted by the RGL, LINZ will ensure that the title cannot be searched in Landonline. Anyone who searches for that title will receive a pop-up message on their screen advising them that their search found a title that is subject to a non-disclosure direction with restricted access. They are advised to contact LINZ Customer Support for further information. All requests for further information are then managed by LINZ Solicitors.
Once a title has been hidden by the RGL, there are limited grounds upon which a copy of the title can be released. Usually this will require the written consent of the protected person or applicant.
If my title is hidden by LINZ, will this hide my details in other places?
A decision to withhold information (hide a title) by the RGL only applies to information held in the land transfer register. That means that if you want to hide your details in the Electoral Roll by using the unpublished roll or your local council’s Rating Information Database, you will need to contact the Electoral Commission and your council for their requirements.
When should I make an application?
You can make an application at any time.
However, you need to be aware that LINZ shares property data with commercial providers such as CoreLogic who use it to market their own property products. The best time to hide a title is when you purchase a property and the title is transferred into your name.
Once a title is hidden by LINZ, information relating to that title will no longer be released to a commercial provider, but we cannot claw back information that is already held by a provider. Although LINZ provides an update weekly to these providers, we have no control on how a provider updates that information into their own systems. If a title is hidden immediately after a transfer takes place, the title information, including the name of the new owner, would not be shared with any commercial providers.
I already have a title hidden under an existing application. Will LINZ automatically hide information relating to any new property I deal with in the future?
No. An application to withhold information applies to information held, or about to be held, in the register at the time of the application. It does not apply to any new information included in the register at a future date and time. A new application to withhold information must be made (and can be based on the same grounds).
What if I don’t have grounds to make an application, but I still want my title hidden?
The RGL, through LINZ, has an overriding duty to maintain the integrity of the land titles register. One of the principles of this is that information on the register must be available for public search unless one of the statutory provisions above applies.
Titles cannot be hidden because of general privacy concerns or because of unsolicited mail, for example. They also usually cannot be hidden for general safety concerns related to your occupation.
If you are concerned about receiving unsolicited marketing mail one option is to register on the ‘Do Not Mail’ register run by the New Zealand Marketing Association.
You may be able to hide your details in the Electoral Roll by using the unpublished roll and/or remove your details from your local council’s public Rating Information Database.