Bulletin: LA2017003

Date:
June 29, 2017
To:
All Louisiana Issuing Offices
RE:
LEGISLATIVE UPDATE - Louisiana 2017 Legislation

Dear Associates:

The following is a summary of legislation that was passed during the 2017 Regular Session.

Act 62. This statute amends R.S. 9:5172 and 9:5173.1 as to mortgage cancellations. It allows a licensed financial institution to execute a release (partial or full) using two bank officers as signatories, in lieu of one officer whose signature was notarized.

What you should know/do: A release by two financial institution officers is valid. (Effective August 1, 2017).

Act 96. This law amends and reenacts Code of Civil Procedure Articles 3421 and 3422, in order to increase the amount of a small succession to $125,000 from $75,000. It does not reduce the filing fees for such successions in a judicial proceeding.

What you should know/do: The new law will expand the use of small succession affidavits, by increasing the size of those estates that may avail themselves of this simpler procedure. (Effective August 1, 2017).

Act 102. This new statute amends La. R. S. 9:5176(D) to provide that the losing party to a suit regarding extinguishment of rights may be ordered to pay costs and attorney fees.

What you should know/do: The wrongful refusal to acknowledge a real right may become more costly. (Effective August 1, 2017).

Act 105. This new act amends La. Civil Code Arts. 655 and 656 relative to natural servitudes to more clearly define that the lower estate is the servient estate and the upper estate is the dominant estate (with regard to drainage). (Effective June 12, 2017).

What you should know/do: Be aware that titles are affected by natural servitudes such as drainage and light as a matter of law. (Effective June 12, 2017).

Act 173. This statute amends La. R. S. 9:5217, 13:844, 44:40, 44:116 and 161, Civil Code Art. 3352 (C) and Code of Civil Procedure Arts. 258(D) and 259 to provide a less complex set of filing fees applicable to all clerks as ex officio recorders of mortgages statewide. The act creates tiers of charges based upon the number of pages. The Act further allows all clerks to store their records electronically. It also mandates that all clerks must begin e-filing documents by the year 2022.

What you should know/do: You should conduct a training session with your staff to calculate the new charges and avoid undercharges and overcharges. You should also recognize that efiling is here to stay. (Effective August 1, 2017).

Act 186. This enacts R.S. 9:5826 and 5827 to legislatively formalize the emergency suspension of prescription and preemption declared by the governor because of the 2016 flooding (See Bulletin LA201604). The act recognizes the suspension from August 12 to September 30, 2016, but declares that as of September 30, 2017, the suspension has no further effect.

What you should know/do: Be aware that the 50-day suspension still affects some titles until September 30, 2017. (Effective immediately).

Act 244. This amends R.S. 9:1254(A) to effectively recognize that an owner of an estate with only a waterway as access, may use that waterway for access, but must still indemnify his neighbor for any damages arising out of that use.

What you should know/do: Be aware that access issues often give rise to claims under policies and are tricky to evaluate. When you face a difficult access issue, call your underwriter for help. (Effective August 1, 2017). 

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

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.

References

Bulletins Replaced:
LA2016004 UNDERWRITING - Suspension of prescriptive and peremptive periods due to recent flooding
Related Bulletins:
None
Underwriting Manual:
None
Exceptions Manual:
None
Forms:
None