Issue No. 220, April 21, 2021

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President Biden’s Infrastructure Plan Has Something for Land Surveyors
Included in the plan is $100 billion for workforce development, which may assist in attracting the next generation of land surveying professionals and technicians.

House passes pot banking bill with bipartisan support
The U.S. House of Representatives passed a bill that would give state-authorized marijuana businesses easier access to banking services.

N.Y.’s Real Estate Transfer Tax, The 2022 Budget, And Responsible Person Liability
Approximately two weeks ago, Gov. Cuomo and the New York State Legislature agreed upon a budget for the State’s 2021-2022 fiscal year. Although most businesses and their owners have understandably focused their attention on the increased personal and corporate income taxes[i] enacted under the budget legislation, there are severl other provisions of which they should not lose sight.

Could Vacant Commercial Buildings Be Converted to Affordable Housing?
Commercial buildings left empty from the COVID-19 pandemic may find a new purpose as affordable housing. Empty hotels from a yearlong lack of travel and tourism as well as empty office buildings due to remote work could drive the trend of repurposing vacant commercial spaces.

Is That Old Fence Really the Boundary?
For rural properties, fences are generally considered by the landowners to be the boundaries. But by law, the actual boundary is an imaginary line that is located according to the property description in the deeds to the properties.

Florida Real Estate Title Issues That May Require Probate Administration
When someone dies owning real estate in Florida and does not have a carefully drafted estate plan or has a defective title (a/k/a invalid deed), then a probate administration may be necessary. There are several instances where this may occur, and here are a few examples:

Title Insurance: Determining an Insured’s Loss and Calculating the Damages

Even the most prudent lay person or attorney in private practice cannot inspect and discover each and every title defect that might affect the property. In order to protect against the risk of defects in ownership, title insurance is purchased, which is the most misunderstood, yet most valuable, forms of insurance in America.

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Water Law 101: Part 4, groundwater terms and definitions

Part 4 of a six-part series about basic water law in the United States, predominately in the western part of the country, and how it affects this finite resource. Water law can be traced back to Roman times and also has roots in English common law. Across the United States, it varies from state to state, and from East to West. When conflicts arise, courts usually determine the outcome, unless there are state or federal laws or previous case studies to resolve the issue. Exceptions to the law can arise from differences in each state’s water laws.

Organized Real Estate Fraud Rings Threaten Property Owners in Costa Rica
With owners of expensive lots kept away from Costa Rica because of COVID-19 restrictions, organized property fraud rings have enlisted corrupt notaries to steal properties.

Woman with dementia locked into 10-year home-heating contract — with a $15K lien on her property
Legal expert says bans on door-to-door sales not working — more protections needed

Maine and North Dakota Are Latest States to Adopt the NAIC Data Security Model Law
Two more state governors, those of Maine and North Dakota, have signed bills into law that adopt the National Association of Insurance Commissioners (NAIC) data security model law (Model Law). Maine and North Dakota join several other states that have already passed similar laws. Hawaii, Idaho, Illinois, Iowa, Minnesota, Rhode Island, and Wisconsin have similar bills pending.

FNF hires national agency education trainer
Fidelity National Financial (FNF) announced it hired Elizabeth Wysong Berg as its national agency vice president for education and training. She will leverage FNF’s knowledge of the real estate title profession both internally and externally.

Woman accused of stealing from Scranton title insurance company

A former employee stole more than $12,000 from a Scranton title insurance company, using some of the money to pay personal bills as she shuffled funds among client accounts in a bid to cover up the theft, investigators say.

Land Surveyor Finds ‘Stooped Oak’ in Webbville, Kentucky
During a large rural boundary retracement, consisting of several deeds with calls from the turn of the century, Kentucky based land surveyor J. Michael Shapaka, Jr., PE, RLS, found the right track thanks to the large oak tree pictured above.

Kentucky home with creepy ‘optional room’ hits market for $399,000. Take a look
At first glance, this secluded home on the market for $399,000 in Louisville, Kentucky, looks like your average, run-of-the-mill home with a quiet backdrop that includes a tree-covered hill and a small lake.

Secret Society With Underground Railroad Roots Reintroduces Itself in Bed-Stuy
A secret society that has worked quietly for more than 100 years to care for Black women and children is now pulling back the veil in the hopes its legacy can be protected for future generations.

Bonus Link: Google street view of the mansion captured a photo of a member
A People Map of the US
A People Map of the US, where city names are replaced by their most Wikipedia’ed resident: people born in, lived in, or connected to a place.

Zoom in to see more cities.

Spain Is Going to Trial a 4-Day Work Week. Could the Idea Go Mainstream Post-Pandemic?
The concept itself is not new; the four-day week has been a goal of many left-leaning political parties since the start of the 20th century, and no less an authority than economist John Maynard Keynes argued that ever-increasing efficiency would soon free up more leisure time within industrialized societies

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