Property file digitisation requests encouraged
Central Otago District Council (CODC) is encouraging those selling a property, or thinking of selling, to submit requests to get their property files digitised.
CODC Information Services Manager Nathan McLeod said Council began the process of digitising property files in September 2019 and to date has digitised more than a quarter of all its property files.
The project to digitise property files is part of a wider three-year programme to digitise Council records, improving the management and accessibility of information for both staff and the public.
Historically property files were held at Council offices and service centres in paper form and could be viewed there. Those considering purchasing a property can request a Land Information Memorandum (LIM) report on their property and this process was previously a largely manual involving copying or scanning property files.
Nowadays, those wishing to receive their property file digitally can request this via filling out a Property File Digitisation Request form on the Council website.
The types of information that may be on a property file include building permits and consents, drainage plans, plans and specifications, Code Compliance Certificates, planning reports, Resource Consent decisions and associated documents.
Mr McLeod said the digitisation team was promoting to real estate agents that once a property was “on the books” to let the team know. “This benefits us in being able to turn around LIMs quicker for customer requests.”
“In an ideal world, if an owner is thinking about selling a property and they request it in advance that would speed up things further.”
Another target audience the Council hoped to reach was the trade sector who might be needing property files for example to access drainage plans. “We encourage tradies to flag with us if the request is urgent.”
Council is conducting a programme of planned digitisation but requests made from the public are prioritised ahead of this planned work with turnaround times for these requests ranging from 5 to 10 days. The turnaround times are dependent on demand and where the files are located.
"In the future we plan to have this public information accessible for our customers 24/7 on Council's website and via our geographic information system (GIS) platform. Digitising these files is the first step on that longer digital journey to improve our online services," said Mr McLeod.