Bulletin: DC000015

Date:
May 15, 1998
To:
All District of Columbia Issuing Offices
RE:
New Law on Releases of Deeds of Trust and Mortgages in the District of Columbia

Dear Associates:

The new release law for the District of Columbia became effective as of the end of April. For all practical purposes, it gives the District Curative provisions for unreleased, old mortgages and deeds of trust which are quite similar to those in Maryland and adds new ways to do releases. DC now has a 12 year rule whereby a deed of trust or mortgage is presumed released 12 years after the maturity date of the promissory note or indebtedness (with certain exceptions as noted in the law, the main exception being that it does not apply if there is a foreclosure under the subject deed of trust or mortgage ongoing at the expiration of the 12 years). DC now has a 35 year rule whereby a mortgage or deed of trust is presumed released at the expiration of 35 years from the date of recording of the instrument, this being similar to the 40 year rule in Maryland.

In addition to the above provisions of a curative nature for old, matured but still unreleased instruments, the new law, also like Maryland, now permits the following instruments to be used as a release in addition to the traditional trustee's release:

(1) ORIGINAL PAID AND CANCELED PROMISSORY NOTE recorded along with a statement of the holder of the note or an officer of a title insurance company or a validly licensed title insurance agent which disbursed funds in payment of the promissory note properly identifying the note and stating under the penalties of perjury that it has been paid and satisfied;

(2) CERTIFICATE OF SATISFACTION (both full and partial release being permitted) with a form approved and promulgated.

The new law applies to mortgages and deeds of trust which are in the land records at the present time such that, for example, a 1950 trust which called for the promissory note to be fully matured in 1960 would no longer be a lien under both the 12 year and the 35 year rules.

Copies of the law as passed (believed to be codified as Section 45-718.2 of the DC Code) are available from our office. The forms as promulgated by the Recorder of Deeds are available through the reference section at the end of this bulletin. The implementation letter from the recorder of deeds is attached as Exhibit A.

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.

Exhibit A

GOVERNMENT OF THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA
Office of the Chief Financial Officer
Office of Tax and Revenue

May 4, 1998

MEMORANDUM

TO:Staff, Public Users and Associates

FROM:Henry M. Terrell
Recorder of Deeds

SUBJECT:Bill 12-458 - Ominbus Regulatory Reform Amendment Act of 1998

A new law was passed to effectuate the release of deeds of trust and mortgages in this jurisdiction.

The Office of the Recorder of Deeds will administer this new legislation which provides new options to releases, deeds of trust, etc. to include, but not limited to, Certification of Satisfaction; Release Affidavit for lost, misplaced or destroyed Promissory Notes and a Release Affidavit to accompany Promissory Notes. Therefore, effective immediately, and consistent with the date of approval determined by Congress, this office will accept documents of releases pursuant to statute. Please be advised that Release packages will be available on or after May 22, 1998.

Further, please be advised that in addition to requirements of the statute, to type or print the address below or above the signature on the document, you are required to do the following:

(1) Attach a separate sheet to each Deed of Trust or Mortgage, Assignment of Deed of Trust or Mortgage, Substitute Trustee, Release of Deed and all other documents included in Bill 12-458.

(2) This separate sheet attached will be recorded without cost.

(3) All (not including the address "over" or "below" signature per statute) names and addresses must appear typed or printed in the lower left corner of the blank sheet. Please be advised that your adherence is essential to facilitate the administration and implementation of this statute. Failure to comply may hamper the efficiency and timeliness of the recording process. This office will immediately accept documents filed under the new statute subject to our pre-audit procedures.