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Pennsylvania Land Title Association

April 2020










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Please Note: We are continuing to monitor the situation due to COVID-19 and take proper precautions to ensure the health and safety of our members and staff. As such, at this time the PLTA / PLTI office will be physically closed, but we will be working remotely. If you need immediate assistance please email info@plta.org and one of the staff will assist you as soon as possible. 


Dear Members:

We hope that you, your families, friends, colleagues and staff are safe and healthy during this trying and uncertain time. We have spent each day over the last month trying to gather and disseminate as much information as possible to assist you in navigating the COVID-19 pandemic. We have considered each of your calls and emails, and we recognize your fears regarding balancing the health and safety of your staff and families against the pressure and urgency of keeping your businesses operating. We are making every effort to provide you with as much information as possible so that you may make informed decisions for your businesses, staff, customers, families and yourselves.

At this time, we want to take a moment to give you a timeline of events over the past month.

  • On March 6, 2020, Governor Tom Wolf declared a Disaster Emergency per 35 PA.C.S. § 7301(c).
  • On March 12th, Carrie Mann, Esq., Chair of the Title Issues and Records Committee, called on Committee members to obtain government office closure information resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic for each of the 67 counties. The Committee and PLTA staff quickly acted, and by March 13th, our website linked to every County government website, and by March 17th, we uploaded a grid of all county closures, which has continued to be updated with each change we receive. We want to extend a huge thank you to the Title Issues and Records Committee for their continued hard work on this effort.
  • On March 16th, the PA Supreme Court, Superior Courts and Commonwealth Courts issued Orders declaring a statewide judicial emergency.
  • On March 18th, the PA Supreme Court issued an Order declaring a judicial emergency in all judicial districts effective at the close of business on March 19th, and directing that the courts (including Court of Common Pleas, Superior and Commonwealth Courts) close to the public.
  • On March 18th, PLTA officers addressed the membership and sent a letter to the County Commissioners Association of Pennsylvania regarding the need for access to certain offices for searching purposes.
  • On March 19th, Governor Wolf issued an Order closing businesses that are not life-sustaining.
  • On March 20th, PLTA submitted an exemption and clarification request to the Governor’s office.
  • On March 21st, Governor Wolf refined his list of life-sustaining businesses. PLTA notified the membership that we were looking for further clarification. PLTA also retained outside counsel for an independent legal opinion regarding the Governor’s Order as it applied to settlement agent members looking to remain open that coming Monday.
  • On March 22nd, PLTA and its lobbyist spoke with a representative of the Governor’s office regarding the waiver request and remote online notarizations.
  • On March 22nd, a PLTA Emergency Executive Committee meeting was held, during which previous and planned actions were discussed.
  • On March 24th, PLTA issued a Call to Action asking members to support remote online notarization legislation.
  • On March 26th, the Pennsylvania Department of State issued a notice entitled “Pennsylvania Provides Limited Suspension of In-person Regulatory Requirements for Notaries for Real Estate Transactions.”
  • On April 1st, the Governor provided an updated list of FAQs regarding his Order.
  • On April 2nd, PLTA received an email from the Pennsylvania Department of Community and Economic Development providing links to guidance provided by the Governor’s office and PA Department of Health. This email was forwarded to the membership.
  • On April 3rd, the deadline for business exemption waiver requests expired.

We will continue to keep you apprised of new information as it becomes available. If you have any questions, comments or concerns, please contact us.

Stay safe,

Chuck Nowicki, CLTP NTP       
Lisa McEntee, Esq. CLTP     
Todd Rowe, Esq. CLTP
President      
Vice President         
Treasurer
cnowicki@wwlandtransfer.com      
lmcentee@firstam.com
       
todd.rowe@fnf.com
         
Cindy Mills    Robin Kelsh
   
Secretary    Executive Director
   
cmills@wfgnationaltitle.com    rkelsh@plta.org    

News You Can Use

American Land Title Association - What is Coronavirus?

From Curb Service To Porch Signings, Title Companies Get Creative With Social Distancing Options For Closings
Forbes | April 1, 2020
As the impact of the coronavirus pandemic continues to turn the real estate market on its head, curbside and remote mortgage closings have become a logical extension of signing loan documents and distributing money at the office of a title company or escrow office.

CORONAVIRUS Emergency Loans
U.S. Chamber of Commerce | April 1, 2020
A guide and checklist for small businesses

Application for Paycheck Protection Program (PPP)
Click Here to download the “Borrower Application Form” for the PPP.
The document also includes instructions for completing the form.
To submit an application to a Small Business Administration (SBA) participating lender. Click Here for Frequently Asked Questions from the SBA.

What Negative Interest Rates Really Mean for You
Barron's | April 3, 2020
Negative interest rates have been the norm in many developed nations for more than a decade, but the notion that U.S. interest rates could drop below zero had seemed unfathomable—until recently.

America’s housing market is showing the first signs of trouble from the coronavirus pandemic
MarketWatch | April 6, 2020
Sellers appear to be holding off on listing their homes for sale in anticipation of less
buyer traffic during the normally busy spring home-buying season

#GoodDeeds: Delivering Happiness Through Virtual Dog Therapy Visits
ALTA Tile News | April 7, 2020
PLTA's own Glen Stout, the state agency manager in Pennsylvania and New Jersey for North American Title Insurance Co., focuses on providing agents the latest tools, techniques and services that can assist them in growing their business. You could say providing support is one of his passion's. Stout has been able to utilize his gift by giving back to his community and bringing smiles to children.

EMAIL SCAM ALERTS:
Cyber criminals are taking advantage of the current crisis and we have received spoofed
emails posing as officers, staff, chapter and committee chairs. Please be vigilant and please do not respond, open attachments or click links included in a suspicious email. Block all emails and report them on the Federal Bureau of Investigation Internet Crime Complaint Center website.


Visit the PLTA COVID-19 Resource page for more information.

PLTA COVID-19 County Update
A list showing the status of each county’s operations is available on the PLTA homepage. The list includes information on the availability of records online and whether a county eRecords. The Title Issues & Records Committee and PLTA staff is working hard to keep this list up to date as information becomes available. If you have new information on the status of a county’s operations, please send the information to Carrie Mann (cmann@oldrepublictitle.com), the Title Issues & Records Committee Chair.

Title Issues & Records Committee Update
Do documents keep getting rejected by a Recorder of Deeds Office? Have problems with getting accurate payoffs from a government entity? Can’t access the records in a County? These are just a few examples of the matters the Title Issues & Records Committee works to address.If you encounter any matters that you believe the Committee can address, please contact the Committee Chair, Carrie Mann, Esq. at cmann@oldrepublictitle.com with an explanation of the issue and any examples you may have so that the Committee can determine if this is something we can work to address.

Philadelphia Payoffs during COVID-19
Requests Sent to amountdue@phila.gov
The City of Philadelphia has provided guidance on obtaining payoffs from the amountdue@phila.gov email address during the COVID-19 pandemic. You will see this guidance whenever you submit a request to this email address.

Water Payoff Requests
The Philadelphia Law Department is now processing all payoffs on properties with a lien history. While the Department is working to get through the backlog of payoffs that have accumulated during their closure, please keep in mind that there will be delays in obtaining such payoffs. Additionally, the Department would like us to remind you to follow two simple email rules: one property per email and using the property address in the subject line. Please see PLTA’s guide for general information on obtaining payoffs.

PGW Payoff Requests
PGW has provided guidance on obtaining payoffs during the COVID-19 pandemic. Note that payoff requests should now be sent to the new fax number listed in the guidance. The other fax numbers will not accept faxes as of April 2, 2020.

PA Online Notary Ad Hoc Committee
Last week, the House passed HB 1564 which contained provisions allowing for remote online notarizations (“RONs”) by Pennsylvania notaries. The Senate introduced its own RON bill in SB 1097, which has some variations in language from the House version. In the meantime, the Senate also passed an omnibus bill SB 841 that contains temporary RON provisions referring back to the Department of State’s notice regarding temporary suspension of the personal appearance requirement for notaries in certain real estate transactions. SB 841, if passed by the House and signed into law, would expire 60 days from the date the Governor lifts the COVID-19 disaster emergency in Pennsylvania. The House session broke without considering the bill and will reconvene next week.

The PA Online Notary Ad Hoc Committee continues to monitor these various bills, and provide feedback to PLTA’s lobbyist, industry stakeholders and legislators as needed. If you have any questions or concerns,  please contact Committee Chair Debi Barr at debi.barr@tridentland.com.

Communications Committee Update
The PLTA has initiated a “Drip Campaign” to increase membership for the association. Five specific email messages will be sent to non-members over the next few weeks highlighting the benefits of membership. The committee would like to recognize PLTA staff Kevin Jones for his efforts in developing the content for the campaign. The committee especially wants to thank the PLTA board and the association staff for their extraordinary efforts in delivering late breaking news and analysis on the impact of COVID-19 to our members.

PLTA Members Helping Members
Kaitlin Kelly from Fran Kelly Liability Insurance, LLC alerted members to review their E&O policies for a potential gap. Most E&O policies contain an exclusion that would exclude coverage for Remote Online Notarizations. An example of the exclusion follows:

“The following exclusion is added to your policy: The notarized certification or acknowledgment of a signature without the physical appear ance of the signatory before the Insured.”

Agents may have the ability to have your policy corrected to include coverage for RON, but it is a case-by-case and dependent on your carrier. It is recommended that you to speak directly to your E&O broker to discuss your individual coverage provisions.

How to Protect Yourself In The Age Of Video Conferencing
Videoconferencing is everywhere now, but security experts at SecurityWeek reported on security weaknesses and privacy risks associated with the Zoom platform. There are however a few tips that can protect your next videoconferencing event:

  • Keep your Zoom app updated.
  • Do not make meetings public and lock the meeting.
  • Set up two-factor authentication.
  • Turn screen-sharing options to “host only.”
  • Learn how to remove unwanted participants.
  • Keep your camera and microphone turned off unless you are actually speaking.
  • Use a background provided by Zoom or use your own photo to safeguard your privacy.
  • If you plan to record the call, require participants to click on a consent button before recording begins.
  • Be aware that Zoom has an “attention tracking” feature to monitor whether a participant clicks away from the screen. 

Several articles and resources have been published about the risks using Zoom:

Western Pennsylvania Chapter Update
Look for a PLTA survey coming out soon that will ask for your input on changes and additions to the PLTA’s monthly eNews publication. This is our Association and we have the privilege of voicing our needs and concerns so please let your comments fly in completing the survey! Mark your calendars to include our quarterly Western Chapter meetings for this year: 8/19/2020 11:45 am at the Panera McCandless Crossing, and a bit earlier on 10/14/2020 11:30 am at the Panera Settlers Ridge. Bring your ideas and suggestions for social and education events, and share soup or a bagel with us!

Digging in the Dirt ~ Winds of Change, Staying Grounded and Escaping Leprechaun Traps!
Come March and April, people tend to poke noses out and revel in warmer air, sunshine and delight spotting green things popping up under leaves in the yard and city parks. A tradition of building a bigger and more elaborate leprechaun trap with my 6 and 9 year old neighbor boys has become something we all look forward to digging into. Despite our best efforts on March 17th the little buggers snatched the bait, trashed the traps but left delightful presents, and footprints, that they were indeed there! 

This year the winds seem alternately fierce and mild, the sun is blazing or snoozing behind clouds, the news is weird and wild, and we are being stalked by rampant germs and drowning in hand soap. Titles need reviewed and untangled, taxes need paid, closings need completed, recordings must be done immediately, money needs disbursed, policies have to go out….maybe in between all that, may I suggest we put down our phones, go outside, with or without gloves, take a deep breath, find a stick and dig around for signs of snowdrops, daffodils, and worms, take in the sight and scent of blooming trees, and tiptoe around anything that may look like a wee green person could fall in! With all swirling around us, maybe we just need a small spring break anywhere we can get it!


 

"Science has never drummed up quite as effective a tranquilizing agent as a sunny spring day." ~W. Earl Hall


Welcome New Members*

Heidi Becker
Acro Settlement Company
Title Agency: 3-10

Stephen Izzi
Northeast Executive Abstract Agency, Inc
Title Agency 3-10 Employees

Judith Keating
Weichert Title SouthEastern
Title Agency 0-2 Employees

Jeannie Kern
Viking Land Services
Individual Title Agent

Vanessa Lucas
VJL
Title Agency 0-2 Employees

Theresa Peller
Individual Affiliate

James Tiu
James Tiu Land Title Searches
Individual Affiliate

Christina VanDergrift
Six West Settlements, Inc.
Title Agency 3-10 Employees

*Subject to PLTA Executive Committee approval

PLTA Upcoming Events

PLTA 99th Annual Convention
June 14 - 16, 2020
Omni Resorts
Bedford Springs, PA

Additional Details to follow.

 Upcoming PLTI Seminars:
Additional Webinars Coming Soon!

Commercial Endorsements & Business Insurance
Wednesday, April 22, 2020 @ 9:30 AM to 12:30 PM
PLTI Office, King of Prussia, PA - POSTPONED

Residential Agreements of Sale
Tuesday, May 19, 2020 @ 9:30 AM to 11:30 AM
The Course is a Live Webinar.

Commercial Agreements of Sale
Tuesday, May 19, 2020 @ 1:00 PM to 3:00 PM
PLTI Office, King of Prussia, PA - POSTPONED

Keep an eye on our website for our Fall 2020
Seminar Schedule, details to follow!

For More PLTI Seminars visit our PLTI Calendar
To take online courses visit: www.pltionline.org 

Did You Know? 

PLTA Title Agent Members: in order to provide the public with your complete contact information, you may need to log into your PLTA profile and ensure your business information is available for public viewing. Some members have set their profiles to private and will need to make the following changes:

Click the "Manage Profile" link under "My Profile," under" Information and Settings" click "Edit Bio." Scroll down to your "Professional Information." To the left of "Address" click on the head-and-shoulders icon, and then select "Public (Visible to everyone)" to make your profile visible. Please do the same for your "City," "State," "Postal Code," and "Phone Number" and any information you would like visible to the public. This would also be a great time to add your company's website address to your profile, as this will provide a direct link for the homebuyer or real estate professional, straight to your website!

If you have questions or need assistance, please contact info@plta.org or call us at 610-265-5980.

  • If you'd like to have additional employees at your company receive informative emails from PLTA, email info@plta.org and provide us their name and contact information, including email address.
  • If you'd like to renew your PLTA membership or join PLTA, click here or call 610-265-5980
  • Got News for News You Can Use? Send it to the PLTA Communications Committee at info@plta.org.

 

Pennsylvania Land Title Association 2019-2020 Officers
PLTA President - Chuck Nowicki, CLTP, NTP
PLTA Vice President - Lisa McEntee, Esq., CLTP
PLTA Treasurer - Todd Rowe, Esq., CLTP
PLTA Secretary - Cindy Mills
PLTA Immediate Past President - Danielle L. Chamberlain, CLTP

Central Chapter - Lisa Peters, CLTP
Lehigh Valley Chapter - Freddy Vasta, Jr.
Northeastern Chapter - Brian Foley, CLTP
South Central Chapter - Stacey Trimmer
South Eastern Chapter - Diana T. Sabol, CLTP
Western Chapter - Deb Chipman Reimer, CLTP

Contact Us:
Pennsylvania Land Title Association
1010 W. 8th Avenue, Suite H
King of Prussia, PA 19406
P. 610-265-5980
Toll Free: 800-545-7584
F. 610-265-5998
Email: info@plta.org
PLTA website: www.plta.org
PLTI website: www.plti.org

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PLTA Committees
Interested in joining a committee?
Visit www.plta.org to learn more.

ByLaw Committee Meeting 
April 14, 2020 @ 10:00 AM
CONFERENCE CALL ONLY

PLTA Executive Committee Meeting 
April 15, 2020 @ 10:00 AM
CONFERENCE CALL ONLY

PLTI - Board of Trustees Meeting 
April 15, 2020 @ 12:00 PM
CONFERENCE CALL ONLY

Communications Committee Meeting
April 21, 2020 @ 3:00 PM
CONFERENCE CALL ONLY

Education Committee Meeting 
April 23, 2020 @ 10:00 AM
CONFERENCE CALL ONLY

Title Issues & Records Committee Meeting
May 5, 2020 @ 11:00 AM

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