Bulletin: MU2011001

Date:
March 15, 2011
To:
All Issuing Offices in Connecticut, District of Columbia, Indiana, Kentucky, Maryland, Michigan, Mississippi, Rhode Island, South Carolina, Tennessee, Vermont and Virginia
RE:
Short Form Residential Owner's Policies; Search

Dear Associates:

You may issue the Short Form Residential Owner's Policy if your state is named above and the land is a one-to-four family residence on a platted lot or a tract not exceeding 25 acres. This policy is not approved for use in any other jurisdiction. We will require a customary search in the jurisdiction as is done on other residential transactions with regular policies.

You issue the Short Form Residential Owner's Policy by (1) using only the 2006 ALTA Owner's Policy jacket, (2) inserting your customary Schedule A, (3) attaching the Short Form Residential Owner's Policy Schedule B, and (4) adding specific exceptions in Schedule B only if the Short Form Residential Owner's Policy Schedule B does not contain applicable exceptions based on the search and examination requirements.

This Short Form Residential Owner's Policy Schedule B contains:

(1) standard exceptions relating to taxes, easements, restrictions, minerals and survey issues;

(2) affirmative insurance as to taxes, easements, restrictions, minerals, and survey matters;

(3) an exception to parties in possession; and

(4) an exception to any mortgage or encumbrance created or agreed to by an insured.

This Short Form Residential Owner's Policy may insure title to a fee interest.

SEARCH AND EXAMINATION

You must perform a general index search of names of the current seller/owner for the time period of the statute of limitations on judgments in your jurisdiction and for the time period of the limitations on Federal judgments and Federal tax liens.

You must check taxes, assessments of all types (such as known homeowner's assessments), and other governmental charges. They must be excepted by separate exception in Schedule B or satisfied.

You should be satisfied that there are no recent unpaid bills for improvements to the land.

You must do your customary search as is done on other residential transactions with regular policies.

If you have or are given a copy of a more recent title insurance policy (owner's, loan or master/short form loan), you may search forward from that prior policy.

You may use these same guidelines for issuance of a Short Form Loan Policy issued simultaneously with the Short Form Owner's Policy, or issued by itself.

COMMITMENT

For Short Form Residential Owner's Policy:

If you issue a commitment for a Short Form Residential Owner's Policy, you can insert the following in the Exceptions section of the Commitment:

The Owner's Policy to be issued will contain the Schedule B exceptions. [You should attach the Short Form Residential Owner's Policy Schedule B to your commitment.]

If you add these statements and you do not commit to issue any other policy, you do not need to add specific exceptions in your commitment to covenants, easements, or minerals and you can speed up production of the commitment.

Additional Exceptions and Requirements for Short Form Residential Owner's or Loan Policy:

If your examination reflects any outstanding mortgages or other liens, show them under the requirements section, so that they can be released or shown by separate exception in the policy.

If the insured owner creates a purchase money mortgage, you do not need to add a Schedule B exception, because the Short Form Residential Owner's Policy contains a standard exception to liens created by the insured.

If your examination reflects title matters (such as a lis pendens or governmental notices) other than easements, restrictions, and minerals, show them under the requirements section, so that they can be released or shown in the policy.

Specific exceptions are shown in an Addendum to the Short Form Residential Loan Policy or at the end of Schedule B of the Short Form Residential Owner's Policy.

If you have questions related to this bulletin, please contact your local underwriting personnel or Stewart Legal Services.

For on-line viewing of this and other bulletins, please log onto www.vuwriter.com.  

THIS BULLETIN IS FURNISHED TO INFORM YOU OF CURRENT DEVELOPMENTS. AS A REMINDER, YOU ARE CHARGED WITH KNOWLEDGE OF THE CONTENT ON VIRTUAL UNDERWRITER  AS IT EXISTS FROM TIME TO TIME AS IT APPLIES TO YOU, AS WELL AS ANY OTHER INSTRUCTIONS. OUR UNDERWRITING AGREEMENTS DO NOT AUTHORIZE OUR ISSUING AGENTS TO ENGAGE IN SETTLEMENTS OR CLOSINGS ON BEHALF OF STEWART TITLE GUARANTY COMPANY. THIS BULLETIN IS NOT INTENDED TO DIRECT YOUR ESCROW OR SETTLEMENT PRACTICES OR TO CHANGE PROVISIONS OF APPLICABLE UNDERWRITING AGREEMENTS. CONFIDENTIAL, PROPRIETARY, OR NONPUBLIC PERSONAL INFORMATION SHOULD NEVER BE SHARED OR DISSEMINATED EXCEPT AS ALLOWED BY LAW. IF APPLICABLE STATE LAW OR REGULATION IMPOSES ADDITIONAL REQUIREMENTS, YOU SHOULD CONTINUE TO COMPLY WITH THOSE REQUIREMENTS.