Property problems: Certificates of title and how to search them

Tuesday 11 May 2004

Q. I am buying a commercial property and would like to know more about Certificates of Title. Can you explain more about the concept of titles to land, what the term "Certificate of Title" means, why it is necessary to undertake a search on the Certificate of Title, and how I do it? Also, what is the difference between a "normal" search on the title and a "guaranteed search"?

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By The Landlord

b>A. Title to land is recognition of an owner's vested interest in a particular parcel of land and is an important protection mechanism to defend any adverse claims against the land from competing alleged owners. It also provides a certain level of immunity from those restrictions, encumbrances or interests that have not been noted (or registered) against the title.

Although title is not a blanket protection against all adverse claims, it does provide a high level of comfort and security to the owner. A certificate of title is a formal (if not symbolic) recognition of all the rights and interests noted against a particular estate or parcel of land including written confirmation of ownership. The traditional form of a paper "Certificate of Title" has now become obsolete given the inception of the computer registration system controlled and operated by Land Information New Zealand (Linz). Linz has established an automated land titles system which provides accurate and up-to-date registration details and recordings of all interests and encumbrances noted against a particular certificate of title.


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