|TITLE COMPANIES TRIM DOWN PROPERTY PROFILES IN RESPONSE TO DEPARTMENT OF INSURANCE LETTER|
Effective immediately, title companies may be eliminating much of the information they provide on property profiles. The California Department of Insurance recently issued a letter taking the position that title companies may only give the following information on property profiles:
- Names of owners of record of a specified real property;
- Description of real property; and
- Property characteristics as defined under section 408.3 of the California Revenue and Taxation Code, which means year of construction of improvements, square footage, number of bedrooms and bathrooms, number of units, acreage, and other attributes or amenities (such as swimming pools, views, zoning classification or restrictions, and use code designations).
The Department further indicated its position was based on existing law and unrelated to SB 133, the Title Industry-sponsored bill that greatly restricted promotional activities to licensees and became effective this year. C.A.R. disagrees with this position and is aggressively working to persuade the Department of Insurance to reconsider in light of the legislative intent language of the older law on which the decision is based.
Meanwhile, REALTORS® will likely encounter a title company’s refusal to provide free of charge any other information, such as recorded documents, sales comps, tax bills, or demographics. This type of information is still available through other sources, such as county recorder’s offices, tax assessor’s offices, and governmental and public record websites and private services for a fee. Clients may also have their own copies of some of the documents. In response, C.A.R. is proactively seeking to provide REALTORS® with a viable solution to this situation, by exploring legal and legislative options, as well as the possibility of providing new member services or benefits to lower the cost of obtaining the information.