President's Message

By: Sharon Schlachter

For many of us, 2022 seems like a never-ending continuation of 2020, many of those “temporary” adjustments persist, daily COVID updates, mask wearing, remote working, etc.  But there are signs that brighter days are ahead, kids are in school, people are starting to travel again and I see more and more people in the lobby and elevators of my office building.  And unlike 2020, in September of 2021, NCLTA was finally able to meet in Hilton Head for our annual convention and while COVID still kept some away, others were grateful for the opportunity to see old friends and make new ones in the title industry.  While the world slowed down for a while, our industry has only picked up speed and NC Land Title has been working hard through it all.

Throughout 2021 and into 2022, our legislative committee and lobbyist have kept busy following proposed legislation involving Remote Online Notarization, Transfer on Death Deeds, revisions to the NC Planned Community Act, revision of the NC/VA boundary lines as well as anything else that appears to affect real property interests in NC.  We have filed an amicus brief in the C Investments 2 case which deals with the Marketable Title Act and will be filing a second amicus brief in the next couple of months as a result of the appeal in that case.  Our committee members have been hard at work updating the study guide for the Title Insurance Underwriter’s Exam and reviewing and updating ALTA and NCLTA forms.  Like these and many other matters, NCLTA will continue to act on behalf of its members, reviewing, responding and updating members with information as it becomes known.

As we continue into 2022, we are looking ahead to our annual convention, to be held September 22nd-24th, 2022 at the Embassy Suites on the Wilmington Riverfront. Information on how register to attend will be going out soon.   It will be a wonderful weekend of informative speakers, great food and drinks and reconnecting in person, I hope to see you all there!

Sincerely,

Sharon F. Schlachter, NCLTA President 2021-2022

The Time is RIPE for North Carolina RON

By: Elizabeth Harrison with Kim Rosenberg and Nancy Ferguson

RON (“remote online notarization”) is an electronic version of a paper notarial process that has credential analysis and multi-factor authentication making RON a superior way to confirm the identity of the party executing a document.

Title insurance companies need to be able to insure notarizations that are RELIABLE and SECURE without having to look behind every notarization to make sure it is not questionable.

North Carolina attorneys need to be able to CONTROL their transactions when they have parties out of state rather than relying on MAIL AWAY documents and a hired unrelated notary for their clients to execute on their own.

A North Carolina RON will allow North Carolina attorneys to COMPETE in the national market.  Only 11 states do not have a RON statute in place.   Without an approved insurable version of RON in North Carolina, parties will look to get around what is in place in North Carolina to use other state versions.

See attached the NCLTA letter and the current draft of the stakeholder version of RON.

NCLTA Letter
Stakeholder Version of RON

Legislative Update

By: David Ferrell

NC LEGISLATURE ADJOURNS THE 2021 SESSION

 

After much anticipation, the North Carolina legislature adjourned the 2021 legislative session on Friday March 11, 2022. The Senate approved the adjournment resolution on Wednesday March 9 and the House approved the resolution on Thursday March 10. The Resolution does provide for two, three-day sessions to be held April 4-6, and May 4-6, 2022. Speaker Tim Moore and President Pro Tempore Phil Berger both stated they do not expect votes on any substantive bills during either of those sessions.

Speaker Tim Moore noted in his remarks to his House colleagues that this has been the longest “Long Session” in the history of the State, having begun in January 2021. This was an unusual session in that the legislature redrew congressional and legislative districts in 2021, and stayed in session to address various court challenges to the new district maps. In response to the Supreme Court’s ruling in one of the challenges, the legislature redrew congressional and legislative districts in early 2022. The legislative districts were then approved by the trial court, and the congressional maps were modified, then approved by the trial court. These modified congressional maps will be used for the 2022 election, but can be redrawn next year for use in future elections.

Various legislative study committees will meet in the interim before the legislative “short” session begins, including the NC Courts Commission, the General Statutes Commission, and various others.

The legislative “short” session will begin on May 18, the day after the primary elections. It is expected that the legislature will adjourn the short session around June 30 or shortly thereafter. Given that many legislators will be campaigning in new and/or redrawn districts, there is an interest in keeping the 2022 legislative session short – so members will have more time to get to know the voters in their new and/or redrawn districts.

 

Senate Bill 336, Condo Act/Restitut'n/Market.Title Act Changes

During the 2022 legislative session, we expect the legislature to consider Senate Bill 336, Condo Act/Restitut'n/Market.Title Act Changes. The original bill contained Condo Act technical changes that were proposed by Investors Title, the NC Land Title Association, RELANC, and the Real Property Section of the NC Bar Association. In addition to Parts I and II, which contain the original provisions of the bill, the House added two other provisions: Part III – Would require persons convicted of first-, second-, or third-degree sexual exploitation of a minor to make restitution to the victim, unless the victim has not been identified; Part IV – Would exempt from the Marketable Title Act provisions contained in a declaration applicable to certain condominium, cooperatives, and planned communities.

Regarding Part IV, under the Marketable Title Act, Chapter 47B of the General Statutes, if a person claims title to real property under a chain of record title for 30 years, and no other person has filed a notice of any claim of interest in the real property during the 30-year period, then all conflicting claims based upon any title transaction prior to the 30-year period are extinguished, except for claims subject to one of the exemptions set forth in G.S. 47B-3.

G.S. 47B-3(13) exempts the following from extinguishment by operation of the Marketable Title Act: "Covenants applicable to a general or uniform scheme of development which restrict the property to residential use only, provided said covenants are otherwise enforceable. The excepted covenant may restrict the property to multi-family or single-family residential use or simply to residential use. Restrictive covenants other than those mentioned herein which limit the property to residential use only are not excepted from the provisions of Chapter 47B." Other than covenants exempted by G.S. 47B-3(13), there currently is no exemption for rights arising specifically under declarations applicable to condominiums, cooperatives, and planned communities.

Part IV would enact new subdivision G.S. 47B-3(14), to provide an exemption from the Marketable Title Act for provisions contained in a declaration of covenants applicable to any of the following: 1. A condominium created under Chapter 47A or Chapter 47C; 2. A cooperative as defined in Chapter 47F;1 or 3. A planned community, other than one in which all lots are restricted to nonresidential purposes, whenever created, to which any provisions in Chapter 47F apply; provided that this exemption would not apply to a planned community created before January 1, 1999, unless it is governed by an owners' association in existence as of November 1, 2021. The language for new subsection (14) was developed by the Community Association Institute (CAI), the NC Land Title Association, and the Real Property Section of the NC Bar Association.

The Senate Bill 336 is currently in a conference committee of members of the House and Senate that will attempt to reach a compromise on the bill. The members of the conference committee are: Senate - Senator Daniel, Chair; Senator Lee; Senator Galey; House – Representative Stevens, Chair; Representative Davis; Representative Zachary. I understand that the Senate is concerned with the provision added in the House that would provide restitution to victims of sexual assault, and is not concerned with the real estate related provisions of the bill.

 

House Bill 776, Remote Notarization/Gov’t Transparency

We also expect the legislature to consider House Bill 776, Remote Notarization/Gov’t Transparency, prior to and during the 2022 legislative session. House Bill 776 would enact a permanent remote notary process (RON) for use in North Carolina. The House and Senate have each passed a version of RON. Since the two versions are different in several respects, the bill is currently in a conference committee of members of the House and Senate that will attempt to reach a compromise on the bill. The members of the conference committee are: Senate - Senator Daniel, Chair; Senator Rabon; Senator Edwards; Senator Krawiec; House – Representative D. Hall, Chair

It appears that the two primary policy issues to be worked out are (1) the transboundary issue – whether to limit the use of RON to principals located in North Carolina or whether to have no limitation on where the principal can be located; and (2) what documents to include in the list where RON can be used and which ones to exclude. I expect NCLTA to work with the various stakeholders to determine if an agreement can be reached on these issues, so the bill can move forward in 2022.

During the week of March 7, the legislature passed a budget technical correction bill. As you may recall, the temporary remote notary provisions enacted during COVID expired December 31, 2021. Although the NC Secretary of State requested the legislature restate and extend the temporary remote notary provisions, this bill did not extend the temporary remote notary provisions.

For more information about legislation described in this article, feel free to contact me at dferrell@nexsenpruet.com or (919) 573-7421.  Information is also available on the General Assembly’s website: www.ncleg.gov.

 

Prepared By:  David P. Ferrell, Esq. - NCLTA Lobbyist

NEXSEN PRUET PLLC
4141 Parklake Avenue, Suite 200
Raleigh, NC 27612
Telephone: (919) 573-7421
dferrell@nexsenpruet.com

NCLTA 2022 Convention

By: Tracy Steadman

We hope that you will join us for NCLTA’s annual convention which will be held at The Embassy Suites Riverfront Hotel on September 22-24 in Wilmington, NC. The hotel overlooks the Cape Fear River and Battleship North Carolina, with direct access to the Wilmington Convention Center. The Wilmington Downtown Riverwalk passes by the hotel door, and it's a half-mile from the Historic District.

Registration will open soon and we will be sending the sponsorship information soon!


RELANC Update

By: Randy Herman, Incoming President

The 2022 RELANC annual meeting was a smashing success in our return to Pinehurst after two years of virtual meetings. The meeting was a hybrid of in-person and virtual for both attendees and guest speakers. Attorney General Josh Stein joined virtually and gave a presentation about his office’s efforts to combat crime, including UPL. This was followed by a panel discussion attended by State Senators Warren Daniel and Mike Lee and House Speaker Pro Tempore Sarah Stevens. In a wide-ranging discussion hosted by Steve Brown of Investors Title, the legislators reflected on their roles, the 2021 long session and expected legislation for 2022. The meeting was also joined remotely by House Speak Tim Moore, who gave an overview of the 2021 legislative session.

For 2022, RELANC will continue to fight against the unauthorized practice of law by unscrupulous out-of-state closing companies. Although we are not against remote notarization in principal, we are concerned about its potential to further remove closing attorneys from the process, making it more difficult for us to give our clients legal advice during the largest transaction of their lives. Therefore, we will continue to seek a RON bill that protects the role of closing attorneys. At the annual meeting, several members expressed concerns about municipal exactions, especially in the Wake County area. Many municipalities have established future transit maps which have the effect of requiring property owners to dedicate or build roads far beyond what is actually necessary to serve their property. These maps have echoes of the NCDOT “Map Act” maps which the Supreme Court declared to be a taking in 2016.

NCLTA Membership Update

By: Tracy Steadman

Membership renewal invoices have been mailed.  Please keep an eye out for those and return with your payment at your earliest convenience.  If you have any changes, please note them on the invoice.  

Our office has moved!  Please note our new address:

North Carolina Land Title Association
3739 National Drive, Suite 202
Raleigh, NC 27612

Message from the Editor

By: Laura Martin
Thank you for reading the Spring 2022 edition of our newsletter.  I hope you find it informative and helpful.  I'd like to thank all our NCLTA members who contributed content.  Please let us know if you have any questions or comments and if there are any specific topics you'd like to see in future editions. 

Laura Martin
Owner and Counsel
Magnolia Title Company
1405 Pony Run Rd
Raleigh, NC 27615
Wake
Phone: (919) 696-3067
Fax: (919) 800-3948
laura@magnoliatitlecompany.com

Thank you for reading the NCLTA Carolina Update!

Editorial Committee Chair
Laura Martin
laura@magnoliatitlecompany.com

Executive Staff
Tracy Steadman, Executive Director
info@nclta.org
(919) 861-5584

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