Issue No. 225, May 26, 2021

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NY Pols Look To Update Real Estate Law With Gender-Neutral Terms
The New York State Senate voted on Tuesday to change a nearly century-old section of real property law that uses gender-specific language to include the gender-neutral term of "salesperson."

Denver auditor sounds alarm about redaction, other records procedures in clerk's office
Denver’s Office of the Clerk and Recorder does not have a consistent practice of redacting personal identifying information for city records, and denied auditors access to relevant information for their examination into the recording division, Auditor Timothy M. O’Brien’s office disclosed in a report released on Thursday.

New York Enacts Changes to Liability Provisions of New York Real Estate Transfer Tax
On April 7, 2021, the New York State Legislature passed the New York Budget Bill for fiscal year 2022 which was signed by Governor Andrew Cuomo on April 19, 2021 (the “Budget Bill”). S.B. S2509C, 2021 Leg., 2021 Reg. Sess. (N.Y. 2021). The Budget Bill enacted two notable changes to the liability provisions of the New York State real estate transfer tax.

“Ripe for abuse”: Real estate escrow funds may not be so secure after all
Real estate lawyers routinely hold millions of dollars in escrow for their clients, serving as trusted third parties to ensure funds are delivered and deals close properly

Texas: House Bill 2237 Presents Significant Possible Changes to Lien Laws
On February 24, 2021, House Bill 2237 was introduced in the Texas House of Representatives. This bill would make some considerable changes to Texas lien laws if passed — which is rare. 

Developers Face Sand Traps on Florida Golf Course Conversions
The National Golf Foundation counts 1,279 golf courses across Florida. But as the sport’s popularity wanes, many of them are underused or shuttered, depreciating from manicured green expanses to eyesores.

Alabama Real Property Tax Sales, Redemption and Clearing Title
Tax sales are the mechanism by which counties collect delinquent ad valorem taxes. There are two types of tax sales in Alabama. The first involves the county selling the taxpayer’s land to pay for the taxes, whereas the second involves the county selling the county’s lien against the land for the taxes owed.

RE&C In Review: Crossing the Line - Contractor Liability and Mechanic's Liens
On those occasions when a contractor must record a mechanic’s lien, the response from the property owner often involves an immediate claim that the lien is invalid or even slanderous. It is important, then, for contractors to have an understanding of the contours of the claims owners rely upon, not only to understand what the owner is communicating when it makes the claim, but also to understand the line between a valid lien and one that exposes the contractor to liability.

Pitfalls to avoid: Funding of revocable living trusts
Revocable living trusts are often used as an estate planning tool. They are so common, in fact, that many people do not realize they come with special concerns. Below are a few of the issues that often arise.

Road dust-up highlights clash between old, new in Vail
Now, though, nearby development has reduced them to only one option: a steep and narrow dirt road with a blind spot at its crest that has them worried about accidents and the prospect of being cut off completely.

Foreign investors need to be cautious of real estate purchases through Vietnamese individuals
The temptation of huge returns on investment from real estate (especially land) has prompted investors to spend their money despite the potential risks. This is also an opportunity for bad actors to take advantage of investors’ ignorance and greed, especially foreigners – subjects that cannot own land under current Vietnamese law.

From Will Rogers to Charlie Hill, Native American comedians get their due in We Had a Little Real Estate Problem
In Kliph Nesteroffs' new book about comedy, the historian goes all the way back to the 1800s and Wild West shows.

'It's very scary': Small banks quietly hit by ransomware attacks
In recent days, two ransomware groups, DarkSide and Ragnar Locker, have posted evidence that they have successfully broken into three small banks’ servers, stolen data and demanded ransom. If the ransom isn’t paid, they say, they will expose more of the banks’ data.

Tennessee Governor Signs Insurance Cybersecurity Law
A law passed by the Tennessee General Assembly in its latest session will give insurance consumers in the state new protections for their personal, medical and financial information, according to the Tennessee Department of Insurance.

Fraudsters target property owners in historic Black neighborhoods in South Florida
Real estate forgery victimizes unsuspecting homeowners

Mysterious deed claims new ownership of Jeffrey Epstein’s New Mexico ranch
However, Garcia Richard explained, there’s still a problem. “It’s the inaccessible, landlocked state land.”

Mohicans reclaim a key part of their New York ancestral lands
The Stockbridge-Munsee Community Band of the Mohican Indians has regained ownership of a culturally significant 156 acres along the Hudson River that was deeded to a Dutch colonist 386 years ago.

The "Secret" History of the Bank Secrecy Act
Fifty years after its birth, the Bank Secrecy Act — along with the long-forgotten role it played in breaking open the Watergate scandal — continues to have an increasing influence on the financial system.

What Is House Hacking?
If you’re new to real estate investing, you’ve probably discovered that it’s not as easy to break into as, say, the stock market. There is no Robinhood for rental property, and you can’t start with just $1. But there is a way to get your foot in the door — house hacking.

Squatting for survival in Philadelphia: What it’s like to live in a ‘takeover house’
Occupying vacant properties has long been a tool of political protest — but it also lets families find homes.

Goodwin Procter’s ‘Flexible’ Reopening Plan: A Three-Day Workweek With ‘Hoteling’ Of Office Space
Say goodbye to your office space if you don't plan to come in three or more days each week.

SPAC To Merge With SPAC That Merged With Spinoff From Company The First SPAC Is Merging With
This may be the first SPAC to essentially merge with itself, but it will most assuredly not be the last.

Marianne Mathieu, NTP
Vice President/National Agency Accounts
Fidelity National Financial
(347) 987-0677