Protecting Real Property Rights: It’s What We Do

03/11/2019 10:22 PM | Scott Merritt (Administrator)

The Florida Land Title Association has been working overtime to safeguard our industry’s responsibilities in the settlement process.   The land title industry’s responsibilities in conducting closings and issuing title insurance play a crucial role in protecting real property rights and making our real estate market one of the most envied in the world.

Our global leading industry allows real property to be sold and mortgaged with greater security and efficiency than in any other country. In the course of our normal lives it’s easy to overlook the importance of the service we perform in helping owners convey their property, home buyers to fulfill their dreams or industries to buy land for development. All of these transactions contribute to the prosperity of our economy and help all of us fulfill the American dream. 

Internationally renowned economist Hernando De Soto is credited with the widely accepted thesis that the economic success of the United States relies on a clear system of property rights which are the basis for entrepreneurship and the creation of wealth and capital. DeSoto states “You are able to hold, transfer, assess and certify the value of such assets only through documents that have been legally authenticated by a global system of rules, procedures and standards. Ensuring that the relationship between those documents and each of the independent assets they represent is never debased requires a formidable system of legal property rights. That system produces the trust that allows credit and capital to flow and markets to work.”

Our role in examining the official records to determine insurable real property interests while applying complex rules affecting property rights such as court records in probate and guardianship cases, Florida’s constitutional protections for homestead property, bankruptcy proceedings, powers of attorney, divorce proceedings, and trusts while being wary for any indications of fraud serves an essential purpose. We are the unique and crucial factor in protecting real property rights and securing the interests of owners and mortgage lenders by examining these records to determine insurable interests, clear title objections, close in accordance with instructions (while working to prevent wire fraud) and indemnifying these parties through the title insurance policies we issue. The land title industry performs an essential role in the system DeSoto celebrates.

The FLTA has been working tirelessly advocating for our members on proposed legislation and regulatory issues to make sure our industry’s unique and vital services are safeguarded. Here’s a summary of the most prominent issues:

Remote Online Notarizations (“RON”) – The FLTA supports legislation authorizing remote online notarizations and is working to assure sufficient security procedures are included in the legislation. We are also working to clarify that separate line item charges can be made for fees associated with RON. This legislation is expected to pass the legislature.

Data Call Information Revisions – We are working with the OIR on revising the Data Call forms to both simplify and clarify the information requested. Our goal is to make compliance easier while obtaining more uniform responses. The promulgated rates will be based on the data call information received by the OIR so accurate, uniform reporting is essential. 2018 Data Call results are due May 31, 2019.

DFS Compliance Guidance – The DFS published a compliance guidance article on February 6th regarding third party closing fees.   The FLTA became immediately involved due to questions raised by the article which led to the DFS publishing an enhanced compliance guidance on February 14th that clarified their position on this issue. An FLTA group of agents and insurers met with the DFS to discuss our concerns and better understand theirs. Read about the FLTA meeting with the DFS here.

The members of the FLTA provide the world’s leading real estate settlement services and are critical to the success of the real estate market. Protecting real property rights is what our industry does. Protecting our members role in the real estate settlement process is what the FLTA does. The FLTA is a strong advocate for title agents and insurers in Tallahassee and will continue to advocate and educate on their behalf. Our association is strong and we have every reason to be proud of our members and the crucial role they play in the success of our real estate market.

2019 FLTA President, Kevin Thomas

Florida Land Title Association is a 501(c)6 not-for-profit organization.

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Mailing Address:
Florida Land Title Association
P.O. Box 66145
St. Pete Beach, FL 33736

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