In 2012 the Personal Properties And Securities Register will come into being. The Register, being web based, will be accessible to persons 24/7 in real time. There was a need for a single national register which enables people to search various kinds of personal property to find out whether it is subject to either an actual or prospective security interest.
The present law of personal property securities is governed by different laws in each State and territories, and there are different electronic and paper based registers in existence. Information about security interests on these registers will be migrated to the PPS national register.
Laws relating to personal property security establish rules as to who might have priority in relation to security interests in items of property. At the moment it is confusing for persons to check the status of security interests in various kinds of property as there were different laws and registers in relation to personal property. There are more than seventy different statutes and regulations governing personal property securities, which increases uncertainty, unpredictability and ultimately expense associated with establishing the status of a piece of property.
At present, the law depends on whether a person who has granted security over property is a company, an individual or another kind of legal entity, where an item of property is physically situated, what type of property you are dealing with in addition to the type of security or collateral granted over an item of property. For example, if you buy a car in Australia, you currently have to check different state based registers to see whether or not the car is encumbered before doing so. There are also registers for some kinds of personal property, and debtors, but not for other kinds of property and debtors.
For example, securities over personal property have taken different legal forms, such as fixed and floating charges, chattel mortgages, finance leases, commercial consignments including retention of title arrangements, and pawns.
Having one piece of legislation to regulate the creation, extinguishment and enforcement of security interests in personal property life will be a lot less complicated for both SMEs and individuals. If the rules for determining who gets priority in dealing with competing security interests in the same item of property are streamlined, this will lead to greater certainty and minimise unnecessary legal disputes.
There are also registers of company charges kept by the Australian Securities and Investments Commission, a register of co-operative charges established under the uniform Co-operatives legislation, the REVS registers managed by a number of States and Territories, and a number of instruments, bills of sale and security interests in goods registers maintained by the States and Territories.
There will be a greatly reduced cost in searching registers and much more certainty in the case where such information about any securities against property can be both searched and entries made on the register in one centralised repository.
More information about the reforms and the operation of the Register can be found on the website