Bulletin: DC2018006

Date:
November 19, 2018
To:
All District of Columbia Issuing Offices
RE:
UNDERWRITING - Revised Uniform Law on Notarial Acts Act of 2018 - Electronic Notaries

Dear Associates:

On October 15, 2018, DC Mayor, Muriel Bowser, signed the Revised Uniform Law on Notarial Acts Act of 2018 (D.C. Act 22-471). The law adopts the Uniform Law Commission’s Revised Uniform Law on Notarial Acts (“RULONA”) while adapting RULONA to DC’s specific needs and concerns. A highlight of the law is that it includes provisions for DC notaries public to electronically notarize documents. The law is expected to go into effect on December 13, 2018.

Highlights of Revised Uniform Law on Notarial Acts Act of 2018

  • Identification of Individual
    • Personal knowledge of an individual is defined.
    • Documents that can be used to identify a person are: (1) a current government-issued identification that is (a) a passport, (b) driver’s license or (c) government-issued non-driver identification card; or (2) another form of government identification issued to an individual which contains the signature or a photograph of the individual and is satisfactory to the officer.
  • Journal
    • A notary public shall maintain a journal of all notarial acts. 
    • The journal may be a tangible or electronic format provided that the electronic format is a tamper-evident format.
  • Electronic Notary
    • In order for a notary public to perform notarial acts with respect to electronic records, the notary public must obtain an endorsement as an electronic notary.
    • In addition to the electronic notary endorsement, the notary must: (1) take a course provided by the Mayor; (2) take oath for civil officers; (3) identify the tamper-evident technologies the electronic notary intends to use; and (4) file an exemplar of the electronic notary’s electronic signature and official seal.
    • The Mayor may issue rules establishing standards for approval of technology.
  • Fees
    • A notary public may charge a fee as established by the Mayor. (Currently $5/notarial act; government workers are prohibited from charging a fee for their notarial services while on their tour of duty).
    • Upon agreement of the person to be charged, a notary public may charge an amount not to exceed the actual and reasonable expense of traveling to a place where a notarial act is performed, if the place is not the usual place where the notary public performs notarial acts. Traveling expenses must be in writing, itemized and separate from the fee for the notarial act.

Electronic Notarization v. Remote Notarization

Electronic Notarization, also known as eNotarization, is the process whereby a signer electronically signs an electronic document and the notary applies its electronic signature and electronic notary seal to the electronic document. The signer and the notary are in the physical presence of each other, i.e., they are in the same room. A notary must continue to satisfy specific requirements (e.g., personal appearance, certification of identity, awareness, and capacity, notary acknowledgment or witness attestation, notary certification, and notary seal, etc.) in the state where the subject property is located, in compliance with state notary laws.

Remote notarization, sometimes known as video or webcam notarization is the process whereby the signer and the notary are not in the physical presence of each other. The signer electronically signs an electronic document. The notary uses internet, audio, video or other similar technology to verify the signer’s identity, record (video) the proceedings, eNotarize the signer’s electronic signature and perform notarial acts. 

While remote notarization is a part of the RULONA, DC Council intentionally “removed remote notarization due to serious concerns [it has] regarding the security of remote notarial acts, including the potential for fraud and coercion.” (Committee on Government Operations Report on Bill 22-234, June 29, 2018, p. 3). Remote notarization is NOT allowed in DC.

For more information on electronic and remote notarization, including underwriting guidelines, see Bulletin SLS2017002. 

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.

References

Bulletins Replaced:
None
Related Bulletins:
SLS2017002 UNDERWRITING - Electronic Signatures and Electronic and Remote Notarization
Underwriting Manual:
None
Exceptions Manual:
None
Forms:
None