You must have a conveyancing licence if you want to do conveyancing business, unless you are a legal practitioner, an incorporated legal practice or solicitor corporation.
To be eligible for a licence, you must:
- be at least 18 years old
- be a fit and proper person to hold a licence
- hold an appropriate qualification
- not be a disqualified person
- contribute to the Compensation Fund (paid with the licence application fee).
Where a licensee or applicant is in a partnership, each partner must also be licensed, unless the Secretary has given approval for a partnership with an unlicensed person (see section 27 of the Conveyancers Licensing Act 2003).
For a corporation to be eligible for a licence:
- each director of the corporation must be a fit and proper person
- neither the corporation nor a director or executive officer of it may be a disqualified person
- the corporation must contribute to the compensation fund (paid with the licence application fee)
- at least one director of the corporation must hold an individual conveyancer’s licence.
The qualifications for a licence approved by the Minister for Fair Trading are set out in the Conveyancers Licensing Order 2006, which is available on the NSW Legislation website.
Professional indemnity insurance
Licensed conveyancers must be covered by a policy of professional indemnity insurance when they work. This means that a conveyancer does not have to obtain or hold a policy of professional indemnity insurance when they are not working as a conveyancer (for example, taking a break to do other work or having a long holiday). A licensee can take out their own policy, or they may be covered by their employer’s policy.
The professional indemnity insurance policy must be one that has been approved by the Commissioner for Fair Trading and can be found in the Conveyancers Licensing (Approved Professional Indemnity Insurance Policy) Order 2017. On 1 July 2019, this Order is amended by the Conveyancers Licensing Amendment (Approved Professional Indemnity Insurance Policy) Order 2019, that commences on that date, and which refers to the Commissioner’s approved conveyancers’ professional indemnity insurance policies for the period 1 July 2019 to 30 June 2020. These policies are the:
- Master Policy of professional indemnity insurance (Policy Number LPS011195725) of AAI Limited (trading as Vero Insurance) and Allianz Australia Insurance Limited; and
- Aggregate Infill Policy of professional indemnity insurance (Policy Number LPS017290468) of AAI Limited (trading as Vero Insurance).
Applying for a licence
Go to the individual licences page or the corporation licences page for information about applying for a new licence or renewing or restoring an existing licence, including application fees, forms and compensation fund contributions.
A licence takes effect on the date it is granted or a later date if specified and remains in force for 1 year.
Renewing or restoring a licence
To renew a licence, you must:
- have done continuing professional development during the past year as required by the Commissioner’s Guidelines for Continuing Professional Development for Conveyancers
- lodge an application for renewal of a licence with NSW Fair Trading up to four weeks before the expiry date.
If an application for renewal is not made by the expiry date, the licence lapses. You can apply to restore a lapsed licence within three months of its expiry. After that, an application for a new licence must be made. Licence applicants and renewals no longer require evidence of professional indemnity insurance cover.
Appeals against licence decisions
If you’re not happy with Fair Trading’s decision concerning the issue, renewal or restoration of a licence, or a discretionary condition placed on a licence, you can go to the NSW Civil and Administrative Tribunal.
Before applying to the Tribunal, you must write to the Secretary to request an internal review of the decision. Requests for an internal review must be made within 28 days of being advised of the decision.
Register of licences
Fair Trading keeps a register of all licences issued under the Act. As well as details of each licence holder, the register includes information about disciplinary findings against licensees, payments from the compensation fund and other matters. Visit the NSW Government Public Register and click ‘Conveyancer’ or call our Property Services Licensing Unit on (02) 9619 8799 for more information.
A disqualified person, including a disqualified corporation, is not eligible to have a licence. Disqualified persons also cannot:
- share receipts with a licensee (section 26)
- be in partnership with a licensee (section 27)
- be employed by a licensee, with certain exceptions, unless the Secretary has given approval (section 29)
- if an individual, be a director of a licensed conveyancing corporation (section 8).
A person is disqualified from performing conveyancing work if they:
- have been convicted of an offence involving dishonesty in the last 10 years
- are mentally incapacitated
- are disqualified, or have had their licence suspended, in another state or territory or under other NSW Fair Trading licensing laws, or are disqualified from being employed in a law practice
- hold a licence or certificate under the Property, Stock and Business Agents Act 2002
- are in partnership with a disqualified person
- have been declared disqualified as a result of disciplinary action under the Act
- have failed to pay a compensation fund contribution, a debt arising from a claim on the compensation fund or a monetary penalty
- have failed to comply with a disciplinary direction given by the Director General under Part 9 of the Act
- have failed to lodge an auditor’s report relating to trust money held under the Act
- have been removed, otherwise than by their own request, from the roll of lawyers kept by the Supreme Court or from a corresponding roll in another state or territory
- as a corporation, are subject to a winding up order or under external administration
- are a legal practitioner, solicitor corporation or incorporated legal practice.
The Secretary may ignore a disqualification for a person if it is considered appropriate to make this determination if they:
- are disqualified, or have had their licence suspended under other NSW Fair Trading licensing laws
- as a corporation, are subject to a winding up order or under external administration.
Under section 10(2) of the Act, a person is disqualified from holding a licence, but is able to be employed by a licensed conveyancer, if, among other things, they:
- are an undischarged bankrupt
- were bankrupt during the last 3 years
- were a director or manager of a company under external administration during the last 3 years (except in the case of a member’s voluntary winding up)
- were a director or manager during the last 3 years of a company that went into external administration within the following 12 months of them ceasing to be a director or manager.
Under sections 10(3B) and 10(3C) of the Act, the Secretary may exempt a person from section 10(2) of the Act in certain limited circumstances.