Bulletin: MT2019001

Date:
July 11, 2019
To:
All Montana Issuing Offices
RE:
LEGISLATIVE UPDATE - 2019 MT Legislative Update

Dear Associates:

The following are summaries of some bills passed during the 2019 Montana legislative session, which are of interest to the title insurance industry. All bills will become effective as of October 1, 2019, unless otherwise noted.

House Bill 108 - Regulation of Escrow Businesses: This Bill revised the rules for the review and certification of escrow company financial statements by independent public accountants. Escrow companies are now only required to have financial statements reviewed by an independent public accountant every odd-numbered year.

House Bill 229 - Dinosaur Bones and Fossils: This Bill clarifies that dinosaur bones and other fossils are part of the surface estate and not the mineral estate. This Bill became effective as of April 16, 2019.

House Bill 370 - Revisions to Notary Laws: This Bill revised Montana’s Remote Online Notary laws to include requirements for credentialed analysis, authentication assessments and other security enhancements to the remote online notarization process. The Bill also made revisions to the requirements regarding the retention and security for notary journals and audio-video recordings of online notarial acts.

Senate Bill 253 - Revisions to Tax Lien and Tax Deed Laws: This Bill makes minor modifications to the statutes governing tax lien sales and deeds in Montana. The Bill modifies the form of notice that must be sent and provides for a change in the effective date of a tax deed. This Bill became effective as of May 7, 2019.

Senate Bill 276 - Conversion of Condominiums to Townhouses: This Bill provides circumstances and procedures by which an existing condominium may be converted to a townhome. Among other requirements, the improvements in question must meet certain criteria before conversion and all unit owners and lienholders must consent after receipt of adequate notice. The Bill also makes certain condominium conversions exempt from state and local subdivision review.

Senate Bill 300 - Exemption from Homeowners’ Association Restrictions: This Bill allows a property owner to exempt themselves from the effects of changes to certain provisions within the covenants, conditions and restrictions of a homeowners’ association. The owner or the association may record notice of such exemption in the real property records and the owner will remain exempt from enforcement so long as they continue to own the property. The recorded exemptions will not carry-over to any subsequent owners of the same property. This Bill became effective as of May 9, 2019. 

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

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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:
None
Related Bulletins:
None
Underwriting Manual:
None
Exceptions Manual:
None
Forms:
None