Paper property titles may go digital
HOME owners may eventually be able to do away with paper property titles and instead have them stored digitally with the Singapore Land Authority (SLA).
That will save them from having to hunt for their physical titles when the time comes to sell.
The SLA is studying the feasibility of the service as it moves towards making property transactions paper-free processes.
"Going paperless allows us to achieve greater efficiency and cost-savings while reducing potential risks for the parties involved in the conveyancing process," said Bryan Chew, assistant chief executive of SLA and the registrar of titles.
Major banks started storing property titles with the SLA rather than holding on to hard copies after a pilot test with DBS Bank in June 2013. All banks must participate in this scheme from June next year.
When a transaction is registered for a property that carries a mortgage, the SLA will not issue the physical Certificate of Title to the bank.
In the past, these documents had been kept by banks.
"As the titles are now stored digitally, there is no need to safe-keep physical copies," said P'ing Lim, DBS head of consumer deposits and secured lending.
A paperless title scheme also eliminates the risk of lost or damaged titles, including fraudulent use of the title, the SLA noted.
The process of replacing a lost title deed could be around eight weeks now.
The SLA aims to eventually allow property transactions to be done entirely online.
This could help smoothen out some quirks under the current conveyancing process, said Jennifer Chia, executive director and head of corporate real estate at TSMP Law Corporation. Lawyers now need to prepare both hard and soft copies of a transfer document for registration at the SLA.
The SLA started an online service last Wednesday that allows owners to view their title deeds and boundary plans for free, a service they previously had to pay for.
This is available at www.sla.gov.sg/myproperty.