Why do a PPSR individual search?
A PPSR individual search will tell you if there are security interests (such as money owing) registered against an individual's personal property. Individuals include sole traders. You may wish to search before you go into business, lend money or buy valuable goods from them.
You must have a valid reason for searching against an individual - serious penalties can apply if you do not (see Who can do a search on an individual?).
To do an individual search, you will need to know their full name and date of birth.
If you’re buying certain goods that have a serial number (like a car or boat), you should also do a search on the serial number. These may not return if you search by the individual owner. See Searching the PPSR to find the different types of serial number searches you can do.
The two main reasons for doing a PPSR individual search (also known as an individual grantor search) are:
You're buying second-hand goods
If you are buying valuable second hand goods over $5,000 (such as a coffee maker, photocopier or machinery) from a person, it's a good idea to check if the goods have a security interest registered against them. This could indicate the goods have money owing on them which puts them at risk of being repossessed from you (by a lender for example) even though you've paid for them.
A PPSR search helps protect you from the risk of repossession by showing you if there any security interests registered against them. See Purchaser protections for more information about how to PPSR can help protect you.
You're lending money
If you are entering into an agreement to lend money or extend credit to someone, it's a good idea to check if any one else has security over their personal property first. This is especially important if you intend to use the person's property as security for a debt.
A PPSR search helps you see who else might have used the person's property to secure a loan. If others have registered a security interest in the person's property then they may be first in line to enforce their security interest if the person can't repay the loan.
A PPSR search won't tell you the value of any interests or assets.
At the end of your search you’ll get a PPSR search certificate. This is your legal record of the search.
Who can do a search on an individual?
You must have a valid reason (authorised search purpose) to search the PPSR using an individual's details.
Searching for an individual without an authorised search purpose can attract serious penalties.
Valid reasons include when you:
- are searching on your own details
- have been given the person's consent to search using their details
- are considering providing credit to the individual
- are considering going into business with or investing in the individual
- have a security interest already over the individual's property
- need to check if there is a security interest registered against the individual's property
- have taken control of the person's property as a result of administration or bankruptcy
- are the legal representative of the individual.
What a PPSR individual search costs
A search can be done two ways:
- Online self-service: $2.00
- Assisted phone service: $7.00
You can pay using a credit card or debit card.
What you need to do a search
To do an individual search, you’ll need:
- a credit or debit card
- an authorised search purpose
- the individual's full name (with the exact spelling) and date of birth. It's best to check these details using a copy of the person's identification.
Individual's name and date of birth
If you're not sure of the individual's exact spelling of their full name and date of birth (or you just want to make sure it's correct) it's a good idea to check their ID. If you don't use the exact spelling and correct date of birth when you do your PPSR search, you risk not finding security interests registered against the individual.
Find out more about How the PPSR searches the database.
To check their details, you should ask for their identification (in this order):
- a current Australian drivers licence
- an Australian proof of age card
- an Australian passport
- an Australian visa
- a passport from the country the grantor usually lives in
- details on the individual’s birth certificate.
How to do a PPSR individual search
You don't need an account to do this search. However, if you have a PPSR account, you may want to log in to this first, then:
- Go to PPSR Search by individual grantor
- Enter the given name and family name of the individual. The names should be an exact spelling - see identification for more information.
- Enter the date of birth of the individual.
- You can choose to search by a particular date range that shows current registrations made during that time. To see all security interests, select No.
- You can choose to search by collateral class to only see certain types of security interests. To see all security interests, select No.
- If you'd like to include a reference number for your own records, enter this in the Client billing reference field.
- Review your search criteria and if it's correct select Next.
- Enter your payment details. You can pay by credit or debit card.
- Enter your email address to be sent the tax invoice. Select Next.
- You'll now see a Search result summary. Select View certificate to open your search certificate and find your detailed search results. You can also select Email certificate to have the search results emailed to you.
- Save your search certificate somewhere safe. This is your legal record of your search.
You can filter your search results (either on screen or in your downloaded results) to see only certain types of assets. There’s no extra fee for filtering.
When you might need to do more than one search
In some situations you might need to do some extra searching. These include if the individual:
Has been identified by a secured party using information they hold under the Anti-Money Laundering and Counter-Terrorism Financing Act 2006 (AML-CTF Act)
Financiers who know their customer details under the standards in the AML-CTF Act might not have registered their interest using the individual's driver's licence details. Therefore, if you know multiple names for the individual, you can reduce your risk by searching on these details.
Has changed their name
If the person has gone by more than one name (such as a maiden name or alias), it's a good idea to search on all names they've used. Even though registrations made against the wrong identifying details of the individual will be defective and have no legal effect, you may want to consider searching on them to avoid potential future disputes.
Is in a partnership
Some partnerships have an Australian Business Number (ABN) which means security interests may be registered using the ABN instead of the individual's details. To find all security interests for a partnership, you may consider searching on each partner as an individual as well as doing an organisation search using the partnership's ABN.
Is part of a trust
Some trusts have an Australian Business Number (ABN) which means security interests may be registered using the ABN instead of the individual's details. To find all security interests for a trust with an ABN, you may consider searching on the individual as well as doing an organisation search using the trust's ABN.
If the trust doesn’t have an ABN, security interests may be registered using the trustee's details. The trustee may be an individual or organisation. You may need to ask for more documents to find out who the trustee is so you can make sure to search for them using the right details.
Your search results
When you’ve done your search, you’ll get a PPSR search certificate. This will show you all the security interests registered on the PPSR against the serial number you’ve searched for. The PPSR search certificate is a legal record.
The certificate can be emailed to you or viewed on screen and saved as a PDF. You can get a copy of your search certificate at a later date at no additional cost.
Look at your search certificate under the heading ‘PPSR Registration Details’:
If your certificate says:
‘There is no security interest or other registration kind registered on the PPSR against the individual grantor in the search criteria details.'
This means no one has a current registered security interest on the PPSR against the individual.
Download a sample search certificate:
If your certificate shows any ‘PPSR registration’ details, this means someone has registered their security interest on the PPSR. This means someone claims to have an interest in the property of the individual, e.g. they have used their property as collateral for a secured loan.
The details of the person or organisation who has registered the interest (the secured party) will appear here.
If you'd like more information about the interest, you can contact the individual directly or the secured party using the address details provided on the certificate.
Download a sample search certificate:
If your search returned multiple registrations, you can filter the results to help you find just the ones you are interested in. You can do this on your search result summary page under filter search or by downloading the results as a CSV file (which generally displays as a spreadsheet).
A search certificate will only display individual registrations, so if your result has multiple registrations you'll need to issue a search certificate for each one. To do this, select each registration number and then select email certificate or view certificate and save each of them.
Unknown results and migrated registrations
Your search result may return registrations that have fields marked as ‘unknown’. This is because they migrated from different registers to the PPSR in 2012 and may not have had enough information (such as date of birth) to match the search criteria you’ve used. This means it may return multiple registrations where the name matches but not the date of birth.
For more information see Migrated security interests.