The Registrar-General of Land (RGL) has the power to review and audit e-dealings certified by practitioners. Here you can find out more about the RGL’s compliance review process, evidence you need to keep and for how long, simple guidance on storage and how to avoid common mistakes.
When completing electronic transactions in Landonline, practitioners certify that;
- the practitioner has authority to act for the party and that the party has legal capacity to authorise the practitioner to lodge the transaction,
- the practitioner has taken reasonable steps to confirm the identity of the person who gave the practitioner authority to lodge the transaction,
- any statutory provisions specified by the RGL for the class of instrument have been complied with, and
- the practitioner holds evidence showing the truth of the certifications the practitioner has given and that the practitioner has retained that evidence for the prescribed period.
Where necessary practitioners may also certify that they have obtained, for example, consent of an interest holder (i.e. a caveator or mortgagee) or confirmation from the Māori Land Court.
The RGL can request to see your supporting evidence showing the truth of your certifications by conducting a compliance review under section 30 of the Land Transfer Act 2017 (LTA).
How practitioners satisfy the requirements that support these certifications can be found on:
- the Authority and Instruction (A&I) page
- the Consent Requirements page
- the Evidentiary Requirements page
A large number of compliance reviews result in re-work for the practitioner and firm, so it’s a good idea to set up procedures in your workplace that allow documentation and supporting evidence to be easily accessed when needed. Here’s what you need to know about the compliance review process and storing conveyancing documents.
When will I be selected for review?
All certifying practitioners will be reviewed, from time to time, as part of the RGL’s routine monitoring programme.
You can expect to be reviewed:
- Soon after being allocated certification rights in Landonline and routinely thereafter as part of the RGL’s routine monitoring programme, and
- Soon after a previous unsatisfactory (qualified) compliance review result as part of the usual follow-up process.
Practitioners could also be selected for review as part of a cause-driven audit, for example if the RGL is concerned or receives a complaint about a particular transaction.
What do I do if I am selected for review?
You’ll be asked to complete a questionnaire and supply the supporting evidence for each instrument certified in the selected dealings.
You need to provide the supporting evidence to the RGL within 10 working days of the request being received (in accordance with section 30(4) LTA). You can provide this evidence by email or in hard copy (printed documents posted).
LINZ’s regulatory assurance team will review your supporting evidence and contact you if any further evidence is required.
The RGL will issue a compliance certificate at the end of the review.
What evidence do I need to keep and for how long?
As a practitioner, you need to hold supporting evidence showing the validity of your certifications for each instrument. You need to retain this evidence for 10 years from the date on which the instrument to which the certification relates was lodged for registration.
The Certification of Electronic Instruments (Statutory Requirements and Retention of Evidence) Standard 2018 sets out the statutory requirements for what evidence must be retained. A summary of these requirements is also found on the the Evidentiary Requirements page.
Land transfer tax statements required by section 79 LTA do not relate to e-dealing certifications. They should not be attached to or scanned with the A&I form and other supporting documentation needed for a compliance review. They should not be provided for any transaction which is selected for an e-dealing compliance review.
What systems and procedures could I put in place to make sure the certifications I give are correct?
The law firm self-assessment questionnaire is a useful tool to assess your firm’s e-dealing systems and procedures, and provides useful examples of the types of controls you could have in place at your firm.
How to store documents
There is no right or wrong way to hold the evidence you need to keep. When deciding how best to do this for your firm, you’ll weigh up size and cost of storage, ability and ease of access, retrieval and staff time to find the most efficient solution.
To make it easy:
- Make sure documentation and active client files from the past 6 months are stored in a way that allows easy retrieval. Most compliance reviews will relate to dealings that happened in the past 6 months.
- A compliance review request will identify the dealing number and client reference (if one was provided in the original dealing), so think about how to make these references part of your paper or electronic filing system.
- Be aware of issues relating to the destruction of paper files. For example, some mortgagees require the original Authority & Instruction to be held, so you may need to provide them with a duplicate or certified copy of the A&I, or modify the Solicitor’s Certificate to state that the Authority & Instruction (A&I) will be held electronically.
For more information refer to the guidance in the New Zealand Law Society’s Property Law Section Property Transactions and E-Dealing Practice Guidelines available on the Property Law Section website.
Avoid common mistakes
When providing documentation for a compliance review, avoid some of the common pitfalls. Find out more about common compliance review issues here.
Land transfer tax statements do not relate to e-dealing certifications and should not be recorded on the A&I form, attached to an instrument for registration or provided to LINZ during a compliance review.
What if I don’t pass the compliance review?
If we find areas where more work is needed, we will email you (the certifying practitioner) asking for more information and outlining what needs to be provided.
A practitioner may receive a ‘qualified’ compliance if they do not hold evidence of the certifications they have given or the evidence they hold does not fully support the certification that was given.
Soon after receiving a qualified compliance result, the RGL will review a further set of your transactions as part of the RGL’s usual follow-up process.
Where there is a pattern of ongoing non-compliance, the RGL may impose further regulatory sanctions (which might affect your right to give certifications in Landonline) and notify the New Zealand Law Society.