March 28, 2012

Commissioner Issues Order on Withdrawn and Disapproved Agenda Items

Last week TDI Commissioner Eleanor Kitzman issued an order addressing certain aspects of the recent title insurance rule hearing, which you can read here. It is important to note that this order only addresses agenda items that were withdrawn and disapproved by the Commissioner. This order does not address the items that will be adopted and we expect to receive that notice in the near future. Read More >

Signing Short Sale Affidavits a Violation of P-35

The order confirms that the short sale affidavits settlement agents are sometimes being asked to sign are a violation of P-35. You may view the Commissioner's order on this issue on page three here. The order states that, "Requiring title agents to execute short sale affidavits violates P-35 as written. Short sale affidavits seek assurances beyond the expected scope of title agents' knowledge." Read More >

Attorney General Issues "Feed Scanners" Opinion

Opinion Doesn't Address Specific Issues, Cites Related Court Cases
In September 2010, the Atascosa County District Attorney filed an Attorney General Opinion Request seeking an opinion as to whether the Atascosa County Clerk is required to permit a member of the public to use a sheet fed scanner to copy the clerk's records. Shortly following the submission of the request, TLTA filed this letter with the Attorney General's office.

Last week, the Attorney General issued an opinion, which you may view here. It says the Attorney General cannot directly answer the questions in the request because of the fact specific nature of the questions raised by the county. The Attorney General said they are not in a position to assess the reasonableness of the Clerk's interpretation of its rules. However, the opinion does discuss the laws a court would likely review, and points out the statute requiring records held by county clerks to be "open to the public at all reasonable times."

Although no members of the title industry were directly involved in this request, we are very interested in the continued public access to the records for which the Clerk is a custodian. TLTA strongly believes in order for access to be meaningful, it is important to preserve all elements of the ability to access and copy records. We will continue to monitor this issue and if you have any questions please contact our office at 512.472.6593.

USDA Excluding Rural Home Loans From Environmental Reviews

Alan Bjerga | Bloomberg News
The U.S. Department of Agriculture will continue to exempt rural housing loans from environmental reviews that may slow expansion of oil and natural-gas drilling. Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack said he will authorize a notice today affirming that rural housing loans are “categorically excluded” from reviews under the National Environmental Policy Act, which requires some transactions to be examined for their affect on soil, air and water. Read More >