The Personal Property Securities Act – An Overview

Published 12 Apr 2012
Jessica Diep

The Personal Property Securities Act 2009 (or ‘PPSA”) commenced in January 2012 following months of deliberation, discussion and administrative preparation.

So, why is this Act so important and what does it mean for you?

Firstly, it will provide Australia with its first national scheme that places control over the registration of all security interests into the hands of one entity (the Insolvency and Trustee Service Australia or ITSA). 

This is a significant change to previous legislation under which there were various security registers around the country, and it is aimed at streamlining the registration process.  Interestingly, however, this hasn’t been the case to date because of a number of teething problems and logistical issues that need to be ironed out!

Secondly, it means that businesses and consumers will be able to search the PPS Register 24 hours a day, seven days a week, when they need to know whether certain property has a security interest registered against it.

Who will use the Register?

The PPS Register will be used in many situations including:

* finance companies that provide loans on the basis that they receive a security interest in an item of personal property can use it to register their interest
* business operators who sell personal property on credit, consignment, or on a retention of title arrangement can register their interest in the property to minimise their risk
* consumers who are about to purchase personal property, such as valuable second hand goods, can search the register before buying to make sure that the property is free of a security interest.
* landlords who allow tenants to use various fit out and equipment owned by the landlord

What do you need to do?

If you operate a business that offers credit to customers, or sells products on consignment or retention of title arrangements, you will need to ensure your commercial documentation such as purchase agreements and terms of trade are up to date in light of the PPSA.  You will also need to ensure that your staff members are aware of the new system and that you have internal processes and procedures in place to effectively manage the registration process.

Compliance will be essential – both to avoid penalties which will be introduced at a later date, and to minimise the risk of not being able to claim a security interest over property.

If you would like more information on the PPSA, or to find out whether your business is complying with the new requirements, contact Jessica Ngoy at jngoy@maclarens.com.au.