Electronic recordation

"Property Rights" in the Aug. 2005 issue of Government Technology reports on a new uniform law for states to do real estate recording and searching electronically. It is the Uniform Real Property Electronic Recording Act (URPERA), released by the National Conference of Commissioners on Uniform State Laws (NCCUSL) in August 2004.

"There must be an orderly conversion of every recording office in the United States for electronic recording to become universally accepted, and that will be a complex process," said John McCabe, NCCUSL legislative director. "URPERA provides a starting point in the law for that to occur."

The groundwork for electronic real property transactions was laid by the Uniform Electronic Transactions Act (UETA) of 1999, which allowed statute of fraud provisions to include electronic records and signatures for all kinds of transactions, and by the federal Electronic Signatures in Global and National Commerce Act (E-Sign) of 2000.

McCabe recalled, "Back when we did UETA, everybody understood there was a set of issues relating to real estate that were not and could not be addressed in a general transactional statute like UETA. Real-estate recordation simply presented too many special problems that were going to have to be addressed separately."

Arizona became the first state to pass URPERA-based legislation in April 2005. Utah, Delaware, and Texas (pending the governor's signature at press time) have enacted laws based on the act. Virginia also passed legislation with a reenactment clause, requiring the Legislature to revisit the act before it becomes effective. NCCUSL expects similar laws to pass in North Carolina and Washington, DC, in the near future.

Uniform Real Property Electronic Recording Act (URPERA)
(available in PDF, 128K, 22p., from NCCUSL)

Uniform Electronic Transactions Act (UETA)
(available in PDF, 160K, 65p., from NCCUSL)

Electronic Signatures in Global and National Commerce Act (E-Sign)
(available in PDF, 128K, 14p., from GPO)


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