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COVID-19 Updates

 

Bulletins

 

June 17, 2021 Extension of Virtual Notarization Act and Underwriting Guidelines

This Memo is an update of our prior Memo dated April 30, 2020.  The prior Memo sets forth our Underwriting Guidelines in connection with the legislation enacted last year authorizing remote ink-signed notarization in Massachusetts during the COVID-19 state of emergency (“the RIN legislation”).  We have issued several additional Memos since then, extending this authorization as the pandemic continued.....

 

February 18, 2021 Underwriting approval for foreclosure auctions conducted on or after March 10, 2020

On April 20, 2020, Chapter 65 of the Acts of 2020, an Act Providing for a Moratorium on Evictions and Foreclosures During the COVID-19 Emergency (the “Moratorium”), was enacted which, among other things, prohibited foreclosure actions with respect to certain residential properties. Between April 20, 2020 (the start of the Moratorium) and October 17, 2020 (the expiration of the Moratorium), the Moratorium prohibited the following foreclosure actions.....


April 30, 2020 Guidelines for remote/video notarization during the COVID-19 crisis

On April 27, 2020, An Act Providing for Virtual Notarization to Address Challenges Related to COVID-19 (the "Act") was signed into law. The Act went into effect upon passage, and will be automatically repealed three (3) business days after the discontinuance of Executive Order No. 591: Declaration of a State of Emergency to Respond to COVID-19. Our summary and Guidelines focus on the real estate closing provisions of the Act and remain effective until further notice; please review the legislation in its entirety for information pertaining to other notarial acts.....


April 8, 2020 Underwriting Flexibility and Practice Tips during the COVID-19 Emergency

We have created underwriting flexibility and compiled practice tips to be in effect during the COVID-19 state of emergency, which is by no means an exhaustive list of issues or subjects resulting from the present circumstances. We encourage you to reach out to us with any questions, concerns, or if you just need to hear a supportive voice.


April 3, 2020 Funding, First

Just a reminder, while you are dealing with curbside closings, e-recording, and limited Registry access: You must be fully-funded by the lender before you send the documents for recording.


March 26, 2020 Escrow Security Reminder

We have all heard the wise tips for working from home: maintain a routine, stay organized, mimic your day as close to your office routine as possible, clean desk policy, etc. It is essential that we are on heightened alert in our fiduciary capacity over client funds. These are extraordinary times which can lead to accelerated fraudster attacks through wire fraud, forgeries and check fraud. Here are some very practical steps we need to take in our fiduciary responsibility


March 23, 2020 Update to Recording Delays at the Registries of Deeds and Registry Districts of the Land Court and Gap Coverage. Amount of Insurance between $2,000,000.00 and $10,000,000.00 

To further accommodate our Agents and Approved Attorneys, their lenders, and the public in these trying circumstances, Chicago Title Insurance Company and Commonwealth Land Title Insurance Company have agreed to authorize "Gap" coverage in Owner's and Loan policies insuring Land in Massachusetts counties in which the Registry of Deeds and/or the Registry District of the Land Court (collectively, "the Registry") is closed or recording by USPS, Fed Ex, or UPS (collectively, "Mail") is the only recording method available, for sales or refinances in which the amount of insurance stated in the Commitment is between $2,000,000.00 and $10,000,000.00. 


March 19, 2020 Gap Coverage FAQs March 19, 2020

Some of us have closed with gap coverage before, but, for most, it is an unfamiliar practice that goes against our most basic closing precept: Record, then disburse. So take a deep breath and see if our FAQs can help ease the transition.


March 18, 2020 We're Here For You!

At Chicago/Commonwealth, our focus is on the health and safety of our employees, agents, and our community, and we are all practicing social distancing. The Boston and Springfield offices are primarily working remotely. But that doesn't mean we aren't available to help you. You can get our contact information here.


March 16, 2020 Recording Delays at the Registries of Deeds and Gap Coverage

The COVID-19 virus is impacting the timely recording of closing documents. Our Agents are authorized to issue our Companies' policies and provide GAP coverage so long as certain criteria are met and the relevant closing documents are recorded or registered as soon as possible. 

Legislation

Remote Notarization

Secretary of the Commonwealth Bill Galvin issued an Emergency Notice providing temporary relief from notarization and signature requirements in corporate finance filings and for the registration of financial professionals. The Emergency Notice is effective from March 24th until April 30th, unless otherwise extended or rescinded.

Office Protocols

Get some ideas from ALTA in developing safe protocols for your office relating to the COVID-19 (coronavirus) https://blog.alta.org/2020/03/title-settlement-companies-develop-safe-closing-protocols.html

 

Tools for virtual meeting

(Some of the options may not meet criteria for remote notarization)

  • GoToMeeting – Several different prices levels available.  Allows you share documents and all parties can view documents as you video talk or just talk. https://www.gotomeeting.com/meeting/pricing
  • Zoom – Has a free option which would work for most agents. For $14.99/month you can get more features. https://zoom.us/pricing
  • Skype – Basic service is free and easy to use. Users can chat using their computer microphone and speaker or traditionally by calling people on their personal phone. https://www.skype.com

 

Do you have any other questions about the impact of social distancing on your practice?  Please call us or send us an email. We're all in this together!

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