What is a Verification of Identity (VOI) and why do I need to do it?
Many of our clients question the need for having to complete their verification of identity. Confirming a person’s identity is an essential and crucial step in property dealings in accordance to the Transfer of Land Act (Vic) 1958 and especially, since the introduction of electronic conveyancing compliance with the Model Participation Rules under the Electronic Conveyancing National Law is important and entails a thorough and property check on ones identity.
The verification process confirms one’s capacity to act as an agent or attorney in a transaction, but most importantly reduces the risk and threat of identity theft and land title fraud.
If you are dealing with a property matter your lawyer/ conveyancer will ensure and be satisfied that they are dealing with the individual claiming to be the authorized person to enter the specific property transaction. Your representative will also have you sign a client authorisation form giving them formal authority to act on your behalf, once your identity has been confirmed. Every document signed and lodged with Land Victoria is subject to the VOI process, meaning representatives take reasonable steps in the verification of identity process.
Who needs to complete the VOI:
Any party in the property transaction, for instance if there is two purchasers of a property intending to go on the title, both purchasers MUST complete a verification of identity. In addition, the other side’s representative will be responsible for obtaining their client’s VOI ensuring that the threat of any sort of property fraud is alleviated and both parties are transparent.
If in a property transaction the property is in or to be in the name of a company, checks are done by lawyers/conveyancers to ensure the company is registered and the agents of the company are recognised. Verficiation is to be carried out by either directors or secrataries of the company as well as sign the required Client Authorisation forms on the company’s behalf.
- Individuals under Power of Attorney:
Persons given Power of Attorney can sign for principals, however, MUST produce the valid document to their lawyer/conveyancer to ensure that proper measures have been taken and will be taken in the property transaction.
How it works:
The verification of identity process entails an individual to be physically identified as they appear on photo documentation they may hold, along with original documentation reflecting their identity such as a Medicare card, birth or marriage certificate. Specific categories and combination of documents must be produced which your lawyer will advise and inform you of.
There are a few ways to carry out the VOI depending on which is most convenient and suits you best. These can be done:
- By your Lawyer
Attending your lawyer’s office with the required documentation for your lawyer to physically identify you and take a copy of all ID documents. As well as signing and providing your lawyer with the client authorisation form allowing them formally to act on your behalf in the transaction.
- ZIP ID
A ZIP ID is an efficient and convenient way for those who have no time to visit their lawyers office. Your lawyer can provide you a link with an access code or phone number for you to book an identity agent to visit you and complete your ID check at your home or place of work provided you have all the relevant documentation ready for them. However, this method involves a specific fee charged by the identity agent.
- Australia Post
Australia Post can also verify your identity provided all correct documentation is given and produced. This method also includes a fee charged by the post office.
How often do I have to complete a VOI check?
Verification of Identity information must be retained by your lawyer for a period of seven years. However, it can be used for property transactions for two years after the VOI process.
Verifying one’s true identity is important, particularly in today’s world where the internet is relied on for matters such as property transactions and dealings, it is crucial that we safeguard clients against any fraud from occurring.