Bulletin: CT2018002

Date:
July 16, 2018
To:
All Connecticut Issuing Offices
RE:
GENERAL - Legislative, Case Law and General Real Estate Updates

Dear Associates:

I. Legislation

The following real estate related bills were passed and signed by the Governor into law: 

The highlighted bill sections below can be accessed via the following link:.https://www.cga.ct.gov/asp/aearchives/20180701ActsEffective.asp.

Abandoned Cemetery Lots - A new law changes the procedure that towns and mutual nonstock cemetery associations or corporations use to recover burial plots for which assessed charges remain unpaid. Among other things, it reduces, from 10 to one, the minimum number of years that assessments on a burial plot must remain unpaid before a cemetery association may sell the plot’s unused portion (PA 18-87, effective July 1, 2018, and applicable to contracts entered into on or after that date).

Classifying Farm Land under the PA 490 Program - A new law requires tax assessors to approve applications to classify as farmland any land that meets the farmland criteria under the PA 490 program, even if the parcel or portion thereof does not meet municipal zoning regulation standards concerning minimum acreage requirements for residential or agricultural parcels. Under the PA 490 program, property classified as farmland must be assessed at its current use value, rather than its fair market value (PA 18-176, effective October 1, 2018, and applicable to assessment years beginning on or after that date).

Continuing a Nonconforming Use, Building, or Structure - A new law prohibits municipal zoning authorities from requiring a special permit or special exception for the continuance of a nonconforming use, building, or structure (i.e., a property use that legally exists at the time a zoning restriction prohibiting or limiting it is adopted) (PA 18-132, effective July 1, 2018).

Lienholder Payoff Statement - By law, a judgment lien secures the unpaid amount of any money judgment and may be placed on any real property of the debtor by recording it on the land records in the town where the property lies (CGS § 52-380a). A new law creates a process by which a judgment lienholder may provide a payoff statement to a debtor, the debtor’s attorney, or current owner of the property subject to the lien. The new law requires a judgment lienholder or the lienholder’s attorney to provide a written payoff statement within a specified time period after receiving a written request for it (PA 18-70, effective October 1, 2018).

Residential Disclosure Report - A new law (1) codifies the residential disclosure report home sellers must provide to purchasers and (2) expands what must be included in it. Prior law required the Department of Consumer Protection to prescribe the form through regulations. Additionally, the new law specifies the format for the report’s template (e.g., it must fit on certain size pages and have at least nine-point font) (PA 18-179, § 1, effective July 1, 2018).

II. Recent Case Law of Note

A. Bueno et a. v. Firgeleski et al, 180 Conn. App. 384 (2018) -  this case contains a good discussion on the law of restrictive covenants. 

B. Jepsen v. Camassar, 181 Conn. App. 492 (2018) - modification of beach restrictions.

C. The Bridgeport Wilmot Apartments v. Martinez, CV 13-6039444 - involved a condo lien foreclosure that was dismissed based on the Limberger case and lack of subject matter jurisdiction due to the failure of an association to follow proper foreclosure procedure (the subject of a previous bulletin) and illustrates that the issue is being raised defensively and successfully. 

D. Reyher v. Finkeldey 182 Conn. App. 159 (2018) - this case involves a discussion of what constitutes being “willing and able to purchase” under terms of a sales agreement.

III. Miscellaneous

A. The Metropolitan District (“MDC”) that manages the water for certain northern towns has issued a memo regarding the request for final readings prior to closings. The MDC has created a form to be completed and submitted by email 10 business days prior to a scheduled closing. The final reading will be based on the homeowner’s average daily usage for the last billing period. The MDC notice of this change can be accessed via the attached link.  

B. Disclosure of Client’s Social Security Number on Conveyance Tax Return - Informal Ethics Opinion 17-1 summarizes the concerns of attorneys in disclosing personal information and mentions the fact that the Department of Revenue Services (the “DRS”) has issued guidance stating that a willful refusal to provide a grantor’s social security number on the conveyance tax form OP-236 may subject the grantor to a prison sentence and a fine. The DRS states that confidentially of such information is protected. Accordingly, this opinion concludes that an attorney map complete form OP-236 in compliance with the law by supplying the client’s social security number. 

C. Treasury Department’s Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (“FinCEN”) - has issued a Geographic Targeting Order under 31 U.S.C. Sec. 5326 (a) requiring collection by title insurance companies (and its agents) of beneficial ownership information for certain real estate transactions. Currently, Connecticut is not affected although certain counties in Massachusetts and New York are. ALTA has created a form for collection of such information which can be seen via the attached link.  

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:
None
Underwriting Manual:
None
Exceptions Manual:
None
Forms:
None