PPSR Search: What is it? How does it work?
PPSR stands for the Personal Property Securities Register.
This is a national database that's administered by the Australian Financial Security Authority (AFSA), an agency of the Australian Government.
The PPSR is an online noticeboard that shows who owns personal property, including whether there's a loan taken out to buy a car, motorbike, boat or truck.
Anyone can access the noticeboard, and update the information there. This is great, as it reduces the risk that you'll purchase stolen property by mistake.
What is the PPSR for?
It's 2 main functions are:
- It allows businesses, such as banks and other finance providers, to register their security interests over the personal property (excluding real estate) of an individual or business, if they've lent money towards the purchase of that property.
- It provides information about the ownership rights of property an individual or company may wish to purchase.
Who Should Use the PPSR?
Small business owners
Searching the PPSR gives you an extra level of protection when buying an asset for your business to ensure there's no pre-existing rights existing outside the contract that you'll sign on purchase.
This reduces the risk of you acquiring someone else's debt or losing your purchase.
Similarly, if you're leasing or hiring our good for 12 months or longer, you should register your interest in these assets. This means that if the consumer doesn't meet their contractual obligations, you have a registered and enforceable interest in the asset, that stands outside the contract.
Registration on the PPSR gives you protection beyond the clauses of your contract.
Private Buyers of Second Hand Vehicles
If you're purchasing a second hand vehicle from a private seller, doing a PPSR search will reassure you that the seller has the right to sell the vehicle, and if the car is already under finance.
If you're buying a second hand vehicle from a car dealer, the dealer is legally obliged only to sell a vehicle with clear title so you won't need to conduct your own PPSR search.
What is personal property?
Personal property includes pretty much any property apart from real estate.
You can register:
- vehicles for personal or commercial use
- factory or farm equipment
- crops and livestock
- patents & intellectual property
- financial property.
When should I use the PPSR?
As an individual, you'll really only need to use the PPSR when you're actually buying an item. If you're taking out a loan to purchase an asset, be aware that your lender will register their interest on the PPSR, giving them the reduced risk of lending that means you get a lower interest rate on your loan.
Even if the PPSR search returns no secure interests, you should download a copy of the search certificate. This is a legal document that you should keep with your other loan docs to show that you took reasonable steps to determine ownership before buying your new vehicle.
If you're buying privately, and you have car finance with Positive Lending Solutions, we'll do the PPSR search for you for no extra costs, and include the search certificate with your loan documents. This just gives you that extra confidence in the purchase your making.
What happens when I take out a secured car loan?
When you take out a car loan to buy a car, once the loan settles, the lender will register ownership of the car in your name, and record their interest in the vehicle.
This record will show how much the car loan is for, and the dates of the loan term.
Once your car loan is paid in full, the record of the lender interest is removed from the PPSR, and you're free to resell the car.
PPSR as a tool for small business
If you're a business owner, the PPSR could be a reallly valuable tool for you.
As a small business owner, the PPSR will give you enforceable rights in addition to your contract when you need to do any of the following:
- Sell goods on retention of title terms
- Hire, rent or lease out goods
- Buy or sell valuable second-hand goods or assets
- If you want to raise finance using stock or other assets as collateral
- Work as an adviser to clients who conduct these activities
You can find out more about using the PPSR in your business here.
Using PPSR - what information can I find?
You'll use the PPSR to check who has ownership over an asset you're looking to buy, or to register your interest in an asset.
If you will use the PPSR register regularly, it's worth creating an account at www.ppsr.gov.au or just pay the small fee each time you need to look up a particular asset.
When you conduct a search, there's are two possible results.
Either there is no security interest on the personal property, or one or more security registrations will be found.
If a search finds there are security registrations on a property, you will receive the following information:
- PPSR registration number, plus registration start and end dates
- Property information
- Details about the party that holds the security over the personal property, including contact details
- All historical registration amendments
Be sure to keep the search results document in a safe place where you'll be able to find it.
I hope this information give you a better idea of how the PPSR works and how you can use it to protect your assets and interests.
If you have any questions about using the PPSR, post in the comments below and we'll be sure to answer them.