What is Torrens Title?

Can anyone explain this, and any other types of title I might come across?

What term is applied to a plain-ol-regular house-on-a-piece-of-land title?
Crown V/s Torrens titles


There are two types of title you will find in Australia.

The "Old style" or Crown Grant title, and the Torrens or "New style" Title.

The old title had parcels and portions of titles, and the new has registerable lot numbers and plan numbers.

All titles are now being changed over to Torrens.

If you, for instance, purchase a property which has not been sold in the last, say 50, years, it will still be on Crown Grant. At the time of re-registering the property it will be re-registered Torrens. You can ask to keep the old title as a memento, they are quite pretty (As MG has done! it looks great on his wall!!)

There are a few differences between them, the main being the indefeasibility of the registered title holder.

(Indefeasibility means the non-challengeability of the registered owner)

With a Crown grant, the previous ownership lies in what's called a 'Chain of title'. If there is a 'break in a link of the chain of title' the owner immediately prior to the break is legally STILL the owner of the land (back 100 years). For instance if there has been fraudulent activity onthe title, 20 years ago, the rightful owner can go back and reclaim the land, as long as it has not been changed over to Torrens title.

With Torrens title, the indefeasibility of the title stands, thus whomever is registered on the title as the owner is the legal and rightful owner of the property so long as THEY were not involved in a fraudulent activity which resulted in their registration.

The term is: A bona-fide purchaser, for value, without notice of the fraud.

This means that the person who honestly purchased the property, for money, without knowing there was a fraud involved, and got registered onto the title, owns the property.

There is a case, in QLD, where someone left their title in the hands of their solicitor and had gone to Greece (I think) for a year to visit family. When they got back, there was someone else living in their house. They challenged the newcomers, only to find that the solicitor's grandson, who had access to the safe, had stolen the title, and fraudulently sold them the property then disappeared with the proceeds. The solicitor didn't even know about it until the clients informed him. The new people got to keep the property, and the old owners had to sue the solicitor for malpractice... (I am writing this post from memory, if I get a chance I will try to find the actual case name)

However, the torrens title has many more good points than this one bad one...

It is easier to register interests and easements, and the security for the purchaser is much better.

Other forms of title, like strata, etc, are variants on one of these forms of title.

Anyway, I hope this helps

asy :D

(Usual disclaimers apply...)
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I think I read somewhere that Torrens (the person) was a South Australian Lawyer who invented the system and that the Torrens system is also now used in the US and I think the UK.

The basis of the system is that an original title is held permanently in the titles office and all dealings are recorded on it and also on a copy, it is the copy which is given to the owner.

This is the way I understand it anyway.

Indeed, the chaps name was Robert Richard Torrens, one of the Commissioners appointed to plan the colonisation of South Australia and the man after whom several of the colony's geographical locations and features were named.

You can read all about the history of the Torrens Title at the SA Land Services website:


They even have documentary movies on that site you can download - seems the Land Services office is rather proud of their heritage :)