The National Conference of Commissioners on Uniform State Laws,a nationwide organization comprised of more than 300 lawyers,judges and law professors, wants to end the confusion. Theorganization creates model and uniform laws, which it brings to thestates in the hopes of passage. In 2004, the organization concludedmore than two years of study and discussion by drafting the UniformReal Property Electronic Recording Act (Urpera). The legislation isdesigned to close gaps and streamline real estate transactions.

|

GlobeSt.com talked to David D. Biklen, a Hartford, CT-basedlawyer and chair of the committee working on the electronicrecording act legislation, about technology and the problems hehopes the uniform law will solve.

|

GlobeSt: Two existing laws--the Uniform ElectronicTransactions Act (UETA) and the Global National Commerce Act(E-sign)--already address the validity of electronic documents andelectronic signatures. So why is it necessary for states to adoptthe Uniform Real Property Electronic Recording Act?

|

Biklen: Because of the enactment of the UETA inmost states and E-sign at the federal level, it's now possible tohave sale contracts, mortgage instruments, and promissory notesmemorialized in electronic form with the electronic signatures.However, real estate transaction documents also have to be recordedor entered into the public record. That requires another step thatis not clearly addressed by UETA or E-sign.

|

GlobeSt: So the Urpera was created to close thatgap?

|

Biklen: Yes. The Urpera equates electronicdocuments and signatures to original paper documents and manualsignatures so that electronic documents pertaining to real estatetransactions may be electronically recorded.

|

GlobeSt: What else does it do?

|

Biklen: It empowers recorders to implementelectronic recording and provides greater clarity for theirauthority to do so and establishes a state board to establishstandards for electronic recording. It also recognizes that paperdocuments will likely continue to be accepted by many counties,even those that choose to e-record, for years to come, and allowsfor cross-storage of electronic and paper documents.

|

GlobeSt: How has it been received?

|

Biklen: Fifteen locations have adopted it. Thatincludes 14 states--Arizona, Arkansas, Delaware, Florida, Idaho,Illinois, Kansas, Nevada, New Mexico, North Carolina, Tennessee,Texas, Virginia and Wisconsin--as well as Washington, DC. It'shighly likely more states will follow this year.

|

GlobeSt: What's the status quo in the places thathaven't adopted the Urpera?

|

Biklen: The Property Records Industry Associationestimates there are more than 3600 recording jurisdictionsnationwide, usually counties or cities. Many of them are interestedin converting traditional paper-based land recording systems toelectronic form. However, far fewer have moved on to electronicrecording, have some sort of system for e-recording in place or arein the process of converting to e-recording. In the areas wheredigital systems for recording have developed or are developing,it's often been in spite of clear authority to create them. Inshort, the existing statutes are piece-meal.

|

GlobeSt: What's the bottom line on the Urpera?

|

Biklen: The basic goal is to create legislationthat expressly authorizes land records officials to accept recordsin electronic form, store electronic records, and set up systemsfor searching for and retrieving these records. The Urpera alsoensures the development of coherent standards for e-recording thatwill function harmoniously between recording jurisdictions andacross state lines. It modernizes real property law for the 21stcentury and has the potential to streamline real estatetransactions.

Want to continue reading?
Become a Free ALM Digital Reader.

  • Unlimited access to GlobeSt and other free ALM publications
  • Access to 15 years of GlobeSt archives
  • Your choice of GlobeSt digital newsletters and over 70 others from popular sister publications
  • 1 free article* every 30 days across the ALM subscription network
  • Exclusive discounts on ALM events and publications
NOT FOR REPRINT

© 2024 ALM Global, LLC, All Rights Reserved. Request academic re-use from www.copyright.com. All other uses, submit a request to [email protected]. For more information visit Asset & Logo Licensing.