There are many types of land titles in South Australia, but if you’re new to the property market or don’t work in the industry, these titles might mean nothing to you. 

What’s the difference between a torrens and a community title? Or a strata and moiety? Our team of expert conveyancers have pulled together everything you need to know about land titles, especially if you’re looking at residential land subdivision

Read on to find out all you need about the types of land titles in Australia.


  • What are the different types of land titles?
  • What is a Torrens Title South Australia?
  • What is the most common system of land title in Australia?

What are the different types of land titles in South Australia?

Understanding the various types of property titles in South Australia is important, especially if you are involved in the property market as a buyer, seller, or investor. Land titles are legal documents that provide evidence of ownership of a property. While paper titles were discontinued for electronic versions some time ago, the various types of titles that have evolved over the years remain. They are crucial in the conveyancing process, which is the legal transfer of a property from one owner to another.

The South Australian land title system includes several types of titles that cater to various property ownership structures, property transactions, and property types. Here’s an overview of the key titles you might encounter in South Australia:

1. Torrens Property Title

Torrens Title is an essential part of property ownership in South Australia. It is the most common and traditional type of land property title. It guarantees that the person who buys the property owns the building and the land it stands on. As the owner, you are responsible for maintaining the property, including the land around it, and following local council regulations. You may also have to interact with government authorities to fulfill your land tax obligations or address any illegal building work.

To obtain a Torrens Title property, you must go through a legal process involving various documents, such as the contract of sale and mortgage agreement, if applicable. A licensed conveyancer oversees the process, which includes checking for any encumbrances or easements recorded against the property. You may also need to arrange finance and deal with a financial institution for mortgage arrangements. You are responsible for paying various fees, such as conveyancing and legal fees, as well as adhering to any conditions set out by the owners corporation.

The Torrens Title system provides a guarantee of title by the Government, which reduces the risk of legal disputes over property ownership. This system simplifies the conveyancing process and is preferred by property owners and professional conveyancers alike. It differs from other property ownership structures, such as leasehold titles, company titles, community titles, and strata titles, each with its own set of legal documents, property ownership structures, and responsibilities.

2. Strata Property Title

Strata Property Title is a unique property ownership structure that is quite common for units, townhouses, or villas. Under the Strata Titles Act of 1988, strata titles provide a legal framework for the ownership and management of multi-unit properties. This structure allows individual ownership of a unit within the building, as well as shared ownership and responsibility for common areas and facilities such as lifts, gardens, swimming pools, stairwells, and entrance halls.

As a holder of a strata title, you are responsible for the maintenance and upkeep of the interior of your property. Additionally, as a strata property owner, you must contribute to annual fees covering the cost of maintaining common facilities. These fees help support the strata fund, which is managed by an owner’s corporation or a professionally appointed strata manager. This collective management ensures that common areas are well-maintained and that the property adheres to the legal documents governing property titles.

The strata scheme also involves a settlement process for property transactions, which can include a property title search to ensure clarity and legality of the property transfer. This process is essential for understanding the property ownership structure and any potential land tax obligations or legal fees associated with the conveyancing transaction. Licensed conveyancers or legal professionals oversee these transactions and to facilitate the property settlement and transfer process efficiently.

Involvement in a strata scheme can also require interaction with local councils and financial institutions to arrange finance or mortgage agreements and even deal with legal action in cases of illegal building work or disputes over property ownership.

3. Community Property Title

Community Property Title is a unique property ownership structure governed by the Community Titles Act of 1996. It emphasizes the collective responsibility and management of a group of properties within a defined area. Unlike traditional property titles that focus solely on individual parcels of land and buildings, community titles are designed around both individual lot ownership and shared responsibility for common property. Each property owner is accountable for the maintenance, insurance, and overall upkeep of any building on their lot.

The Community Corporation represents the collective interests of the property owners. It manages common areas, facilities, and shared infrastructure such as landscaping, garden areas, roads, pools, and community buildings. The corporation also organizes annual meetings for all title owners to ensure a democratic process for decision-making regarding the community’s management, maintenance, and improvement.

Conveyancing for community titles involves several key steps, including a property title search, to ensure the clarity of ownership and the absence of encumbrances on the property. Licensed conveyancers typically oversee this process, facilitating the property settlement and ensuring that all legal requirements, including conveyancing fees and land tax obligations, are met.

Community Title ownership may require engagement with local council regulations, financial institutions for mortgage agreements, and even navigating legal action in the case of disputes or illegal building work. Property owners within a community title scheme are also likely to undertake property searches, arrange the settlement process, and manage conveyancing transactions with the assistance of conveyancers.

4. Community Strata Property Title

The Community Strata Property Title is a unique type of land title in South Australia that combines community and strata titles, as defined by the Community Titles Act of 1996. This title system is mainly used for multi-level buildings or complexes with vertically arranged units. Under this title, the building and land are considered part of the common property, and the Community Corporation is responsible for their maintenance and insurance.

Owners of a Community Strata Property Title participate in a collective property ownership structure where the emphasis is placed on management and responsibility. The Community Corporation, comprises all property owners within the strata, oversees the common property’s maintenance, insurance, and upkeep, including the building itself, to ensure they meet all legal and safety standards.

Conveyancing for a Community Strata Property Title requires a thorough property title search to confirm the property’s legal standing and any encumbrances that could affect ownership. Professional or licensed conveyancers typically handle these transactions, providing conveyancing services that ensure compliance with all legal requirements, including the payment of conveyancing fees and land tax obligations.

Owners of a Community Strata Title may need to engage with various entities, such as local councils, financial institutions, and legal actions related to property disputes. They are also likely to participate in property searches, oversee the arrangement of the settlement process, and ensure the conveyancing transaction is conducted according to legal requirements.

5. Moiety Title (lease based)

The Moiety Title was a unique form of property ownership prevalent in South Australia for flats or units until 1967. This title system granted owners a share of the land upon which their unit block was situated, creating a co-ownership or shared ownership structure for the property. Under a Moiety Title, an individual owned a portion of the overall land, and their right to occupy a specific flat or unit came from a lease agreement with the other owners. This arrangement extended to common areas, making each owner a lessee with respect to their own flat and shared property spaces.

The Moiety Title system required a complex legal and conveyancing process to ensure that all property ownership, transfer, and occupation rights were clearly defined and legally binding. This involved detailed property title searches and legal documents outlining each owner’s rights and responsibilities.

These documents were crucial in the property purchase process, helping to clarify the property ownership structure and the terms of lease agreements for both the individual units and the common areas.

Owners under a Moiety Title engaged in a property transaction process differ from other types of property ownership due to the shared nature of the land ownership. This could involve interactions with other owners, local councils, and financial institutions if arranging finance or dealing with mortgage agreements. The conveyancing transaction required the expertise of professional conveyancers, who oversaw the property settlement and transfer process, ensuring compliance with all legal requirements, including conveyancing fees and land tax obligations.

Managing a property under a Moiety Title often involved a collective approach to property maintenance, insurance, and overseeing common areas. This collective management sometimes required forming a body corporate or an owners’ corporation, similar to those found in strata or community title properties, to handle these responsibilities effectively.

However, due to the complexity and the potential for disputes within this ownership structure, Moiety Titles have become less common, with newer systems like Strata Title and Community Title providing clearer frameworks for the ownership and management of multi-unit properties. Nonetheless, understanding the intricacies of Moiety Titles provides valuable insight into the evolution of property law and ownership structures in South Australia.

6. Company Title (share based)

Before the introduction of Strata Titling in 1967, Company Title was a popular property ownership system for flats or units in South Australia. Under this system, individuals did not directly own their flat or unit. Instead, they held shares in the company that owned the building and land. The share certificate registered the individual as a shareholder, granting them the use of a specific flat or unit and common areas within the property. This system was popular in older buildings and provided a unique approach to property ownership and management.

In a Company Title arrangement, the company holds the property title and associated legal documents. Shareholders are responsible for the property’s maintenance, insurance, and management. A board of directors or owners’ corporation manages the company, overseeing the property’s upkeep, including common areas such as gardens, lobbies, and other facilities. They ensure that all legal requirements are met and that the property maintains its value and livability.

The conveyancing process for purchasing a Company Title property involves a title search to verify the company’s ownership and the absence of legal issues. This process is essential during the property purchase and transfer and requires the expertise of licensed or professional conveyancers who provide conveyancing services to facilitate the transaction. These professionals ensure that all necessary legal documents are in order, including the contract of sale, and that the property settlement adheres to all relevant legal and financial obligations.

Purchasing a flat or unit under a Company Title can involve arranging finance with a financial institution. This may require a thorough understanding of the Company Title structure and its implications for property ownership. Prospective owners may need to engage in property searches, arrange for pest inspections, and examine the company’s financial health and governance structures as part of the due diligence process before finalizing the purchase.

Company Title ownership offers a unique form of property ownership, with shareholders having a say in the property’s management and decision-making processes. However, prospective buyers must understand the nuances of this title system, including any restrictions on the transfer of shares or occupancy rights, which can vary significantly from the more common Strata Title system.

Navigating Conveyancing Services for South Australian Land Titles

Having a good understanding of land titles in South Australia is crucial whether you’re a first-time property buyer, an investor, or a seller. The process involves more than simply identifying the type of land title. To navigate the complexities of property transactions, you need a comprehensive understanding of legal documents, property ownership structures, and the conveyancing process. This is where expert conveyancing services come into play. They offer essential guidance and support to help you through the intricacies of property transactions.

We’re here to walk you through all the processes and steps. If you’re looking at buying or selling a property, call Eckermanns – we’re here to answer any questions you may have regarding property titles in South Australia. If you need our assistance, please contact us on 08 8366 7900.

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