April 8, 2020
CATIC   Agent Information Bulletin:
Municipal Searches

As town hall closures increase, and staff in those towns are not physically present, municipal searches have become more and more difficult to complete. CATIC has learned that in several towns getting a municipal search is simply impossible. We are advising our agents of this issue now so that you can prepare for the possibility that you will not be able to receive a municipal search prior to your closings.

In order to determine if municipal records are available in a particular town, visit our  dedicated webpage  for COVID-19 information and guidance, which includes our Town Hall Update which has been amended to include information regarding the availability of an online municipal search.

Title policies contain limited coverage for municipal issues. In 2019, CATIC designed an endorsement for its expanded owner policy, the Homestead Endorsement, that, among other free added coverage, provides additional municipal coverage. As of February 1, 2020 this endorsement is available statewide. If you missed the recent CATIC webinar explaining those municipal coverages, and how to issue the new endorsement, you can find it here . (1 hour CLE credit).

As a reminder, a municipal search is not required when issuing a CATIC standard or expanded owner policy . When issuing a CATIC Expanded Owner Policy on property improved with a single-family dwelling, remember that a municipal search is also not required by CATIC in order to add the Homestead Endorsement to the policy.

However, title policies were never designed to cover municipal issues and while there is significant coverage with the Expanded Owner Policy and Homestead Endorsement, a title policy cannot possibly cover every municipal issue that could arise. In addition, the Expanded Owner Policy and Homestead endorsements apply only to one-to-four family residences.

With this new hurdle in mind CATIC has drafted a client waiver for your consideration. This is not mandatory but is only a suggestion and perhaps a starting point for those attorneys who typically advise clients to get a municipal search. This may help you to explain to your purchaser clients what a municipal search is and to seek their informed, written consent to close without it should they wish to do that.

If you wish to cancel a municipal search order previously placed and not delivered:

CATIC will continue monitoring this situation closely. We are always available to answer your questions, whether those questions have to do with municipal searches or with any other subject that concerns your practice. Just call or e-mail a  CATIC Underwriter .

CATIC is open for business and ready to help.
´╗┐Please let us know how we can assist you.
Please continue to check out our dedicated webpage for COVID-19 information and guidance, on a regular basis. We will be updating the material as we learn of new developments.