Bulletin: GA2011006

Date:
November 15, 2011
To:
All Georgia Issuing Offices
RE:
Survey Requirements - Residential Property

Dear Associates:

            We have seen a significant increase in the number of survey related claims presented to Stewart Title Guaranty Company in Georgia. This Bulletin will review the requirements to provide survey coverage without a survey on residential land only. 

ALTA HOMEOWNER’S POLICY

            The ALTA Homeowner's Policy of Title Insurance provides survey coverage to owners by insuring against encroachments of: (a) existing structures onto a neighbor's land; (b) neighbor's existing structures onto the Land; (c) existing structures onto an Easement or over a building set-back line; or, (d) neighbor's structures (other than boundary walls or fences) onto the Land after Policy Date. The Company does not require a survey to issue the ALTA Homeowner's Policy provided Issuing Agents comply with the following:

1.

The property must be improved 1-4 single family or residential condominium land in a platted subdivision. The subdivision must be established or developed by a known reputable developer or builder; and

 

2.

The Issuing Agent is unaware of any problems associated with the underlying subdivision plat or the surveyor who produced the underlying plat; and

 

3.

There must be a single-family residence already in place on the land. If builder sale or new construction, verify either that (a) builder is known in community as residential builder or contractor, and (b) certificate of occupancy or local equivalent has been issued, or (c) utilities are now available to the land; and

 

4.

The issuing office must obtain the Homeowner's Policy affidavit, or equivalent, and your customary affidavit of debts and liens from the current owner stating that there are no known survey related problems.

            If you are aware of a major encroachment, except to the encroachment in Schedule B and then add in the same paragraph the following "No insurance is given pursuant to the Covered Risks as to this matter.” If you are aware of a minor encroachment and want to insure against enforced removal, except to the encroachment and then add in the same paragraph the following: "This exception does not limit the insurance coverage in the Covered Risks against forced removal."

ALTA 2006 OWNER’S AND LOAN POLICY SURVEY REQUIREMENTS

The ALTA Owner’s and Loan Policy of Title Insurance provide survey coverage under Covered Risk 2 (c) of the ALTA 2006 Owner’s and Loan Policies which insures against loss by reason of:

"Any encroachment, encumbrance, violation, variation, or adverse circumstance affecting the Title that would be disclosed by an accurate and complete land survey of the Land. The term "encroachment" includes encroachments of existing improvements located on the Land onto adjoining land, and encroachments onto the Land of existing improvements located on adjoining land."

This coverage is provided by default unless removed by the addition of a Schedule B Exception, such as the following.

"Any encroachment, encumbrance, violation, variation, or adverse circumstance that would be disclosed by an accurate and complete land survey of the Land."

Issuing Agents should include this exception where the requirements to issue survey coverage without a survey are not met or where an underwriting decision is made not to provide this coverage. Be sure and add the exception to any short form residential loan policy by including an Addendum. 

On Loan Policies, the Company does not require a survey in order to give survey coverage without exception provided Issuing Agents comply with the following:

1.

The land is 1-4 family residential which is either in a platted subdivision or acreage tracts under 25 acres; and

 

2.

Issuing Agents must obtain the STG Survey Affidavit from the current owner stating that there are no known survey related problems; and

 

3.

Issuing Agents should include specific exceptions for matters (such as specific encroachments) actually known to you.

 

On Owner’s Policies, the Company does not require a survey in order to give survey coverage without exception provided Issuing Agents comply with the following:

1.

The land is 1-4 family residential in a platted subdivision; and

 

2.

Issuing Agents must obtain the STG Survey Affidavit from the current owner stating that there are no known survey related problems; and

 

3.

Issuing Agents should include specific exceptions for matters (such as specific encroachments) actually known to you.

On all policies, Issuing Agents should continue to except to easements of record and any significant encroachments or unrecorded easements of which you have actual knowledge, either by reason of a survey or your title search. If you have actual knowledge that a survey is being prepared in your current transaction, you must require a copy, review it and take exception to specific problems.

INAPPLICABLILITY TO RECENT CONSTRUCTION RELATED POLICIES AND VACANT LAND

Issuing Agents may provide survey coverage pursuant to this Bulletin as long as there is no known current or recent construction. If there is recent construction you must require a current survey. If a prior survey was prepared before construction of improvements, you will need a new survey which discloses the improvements as constructed. If the residential land is vacant, you must require a current survey unless you secure local underwriter approval.

This Bulletin does not cover defective or incorrect legal descriptions and boundary line issues which may be disclosed by an accurate survey of the land. Issuing Agent should continue to review these as problems in the description of land that may only be revealed by proper examination. In some cases, a survey may be required to correct description issues before closing and insuring a transaction. Please contact your local underwriter if you have any questions regarding these issues.

If you have any questions relating to this or other bulletins, please contact a Stewart Title Guaranty Company underwriter.

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.