Bulletin: MD2019002

Date:
May 20, 2019
To:
All Maryland Issuing Offices
RE:
UNDERWRITING - Special Bulletin Regarding Baltimore City, Maryland

Dear Associates:

City of Baltimore has issued a press release updating the status of operations for the city. As it related to real estate transactions, here is the most current information:

REAL ESTATE TRANSACTIONS - The City of Baltimore has developed a manual work around that will allow real estate transactions to proceed during the City's technology outage. The plan will take effect Monday, May 20. To accommodate citizens, the Abel Wolman Municipal Building will operate from 7:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m., Monday through Friday for the week. The workaround that was developed by the City includes the following steps: 

  • Baltimore City will accept requests for lien certificates in person at the Abel Wolman Municipal Building at 200 N. Holliday Street, in Room 1. All transactions must be made in-person.
  • Any seller or transferor of a property will be required to sign and have notarized a form Affidavit for Payment of Outstanding Charges. The Affidavit will reaffirm the transferor’s obligation to pay any outstanding charges that would otherwise appear on a lien certificate together with a promise to pay such charges within ten days of receipt of an invoice from the City.
  • While the mainframe is inaccessible, the city will issue lien certificates showing zero liens and including a reference to the form Affidavit. This will remove any responsibility for paying any property debts or settling the liens from the new owner of the property. That responsibility will rest solely on the transferor.
  • At the time of recording, the responsible parties should pay all the open liens of which they are aware by check or money order.
  • The lien certificate, with the Affidavit attached, should be hand-delivered to Room 1B of the Abel Wolman Municipal Building at 200 N. Holliday Street.

The City reserves the right to decline to process any transaction that the City in its sole discretion determines to subject the City to an unreasonable risk of nonpayment.

In order to process a Baltimore City Transaction during this time Stewart Title Guaranty will insure properties that meet the following requirements:

1.     Transfers to a bona fide purchaser for value with a valid lien sheet or a seller’s promise to sign Affidavit for Payment of Outstanding Charges.

2.     Transfer to a bona fide purchaser for value with a new form liens sheet (see sample attached) and a seller promise to sign Affidavit for Payment of Outstanding charges.

3.     Refinance transactions.

Please Note:

If you have an expired lien sheet showing outstanding charges, you must collect all outstanding charges and obtain a new form lien sheet and a seller signed and notarized Affidavit for payment of outstanding charges.

Escrow Appropriately:

While we have a signed Seller affidavit, we would suggest escrowing properly for any outstanding water and tax bills. Please keep in mind that a new tax bill will be due and payable July 1, 2019.

Stewart Title Guaranty will NOT insure the following transactions in Baltimore City until the problem has been resolved:

1.     Short Sale transactions 

2.     Tax or Sheriff sale transactions

3.     Deed in lieu of foreclosure transactions 

4.     Transfers for no value or less than market value

5.     Deeds of Distribution from Personal Representatives of an estate or to an heir of devisee

6.     Deeds pursuant to divorce or separation 

7.     Purchases from an investor with an immediate sale to a second purchaser

8.     Deeds from debtor in possession or from a trustee in a bankruptcy

Other items to note:

City ONLINE PAYMENT SYSTEM is not operational (typically used to pay water bills, vehicle citations, property taxes).  Pay bills by mail or in person at the Abel Wolman Municipal Building, 200 N Holliday St. Please bring a copy of the bill, along with check or money order. Late fees are being suspended until all systems are restored.

For PUBLIC WORKS related matters, the department is processing requests through its Call Center number at 410-396-5352.

For PERMITS AND LICENSES, any permits in process will continue to be processed. The Department of Housing & Community Development is working with customers in person or customers can call 443-984-1809 for assistance. 

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