Bulletin: FL2020003

Date:
July 01, 2020
To:
All Florida Issuing Offices
RE:
UNDERWRITING - Effective July 1, 2020, Section 689.041 F.S.

Dear Associates:

Effective July 1, 2020, Section 689.041 takes effect in Florida which will allow deeds containing certain erroneous legal descriptions to be cured without the need for a corrective deed or a judicial reformation action.

Definitions:

The new law includes three defined terms that will limit the situations in which the law will apply.

  1. “Erroneous deed” means any deed, other than a quitclaim deed, which contains a scrivener's error.
  2. “Intended real property” means the real property vested in the grantor and intended to be conveyed by the grantor in the erroneous deed.
  3. “Scrivener’s error” means a single error or omission in the legal description of the intended real property in no more than one of the following categories:

(a) An error or omission in no more than one of the lot or block identifications of a recorded platted lot; however, the transposition of the lot or block identifications is considered one error.

(b) An error or omission in no more than one of the unit, building, or phase identifications of a condominium or cooperative unit.

(c) An error or omission in no more than one directional designation or numerical fraction of a tract of land that is described as a fractional portion of a section, township, or range; however, an error or omission in the directional description and numerical fraction of the same section, township, or range is considered one error.

Criteria:

In order for the new law to apply, the following criteria must be met:

  1. Record title to the intended real property was held by the grantor of the first erroneous deed at the time the first erroneous deed was executed.
  2. To help prevent the law from being misapplied, the statute includes the requirement that within the 5 years before the record date of the erroneous deed, the grantor of any erroneous deed may not have held title to any other real property in the same subdivision, condominium or cooperative development or in the same section, township, and range, as described in the erroneous deed. Thus, the statute will not apply to titles conveyed by a developer.
  3. The application of the statute is further restricted as it provides that it cannot be used for deeds in which the intended real property was described exclusively by a metes and bounds legal description. Transfers of title by judicial decree, such as certificates of title, are similarly outside the purview of the statute.
  4. A curative notice in substantially the form set forth in the statute must be recorded in the official records of the county in which the intended real property is located which evidences the intended real property to be conveyed by the grantor. The statute does not state who is authorized to sign the curative notice.

Once the four statutory requirements listed above have been met, it is deemed that the original deed containing the scrivener’s error and any subsequent erroneous deeds containing the identical scrivener’s error convey title to the intended real property as if there had been no error.

Guidelines:

Regarding Stewart Title’s underwriting guidelines, it is deemed advisable to obtain a corrective deed if one can be readily obtained. However, a Stewart agent is authorized to rely on a curative notice once a title examiner or Stewart underwriter determines that the requirements of the statute have been met. Likewise, licensed title agents and attorneys associated with Stewart Title policy issuing agencies are authorized to prepare a curative notice for erroneous deeds which their offices insured.

Attached to this bulletin is a copy of the new Section 689.041 Florida Statutes, and a sample of the curative notice.

We welcome your inquiries as to what action is required to resolve legal description issues.

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