Philadelphia Decoded

Accessible, User - Friendly Law for All People

§ 2-202 Requirements. 10 Amended, Bill No. 100487 (became law October 20, 2010). See note 9 for effective date provisions. Amended, Bill No. 130324 (approved July 11, 2013), effective September 9, 2013.10

The requirements of this Section are in addition to any requirements provided by state law, local law or regulations promulgated by the Department.

(1) Upon presentation of a deed for recording, the Department shall perform a records check to determine whether the named grantor on the deed matches the record owner of the real estate identified therein, except in the following cases where the grantor may be a person other than the record owner:

(a) Any deed where the real estate described therein is part of a decedents estate;

(b) Any deed where the grantor has been issued power of attorney by the record owner; or

(c) Any deed where the grantor is a trustee.

(2) The following deeds shall require additional documentation, as set forth below:

(a) Where the real estate identified in the deed is part of a decedents estate, letters testamentary or letters of administration, issued by the Register of Wills shall be provided.

(b) Where the grantor has been granted power of attorney by the record owner of the real estate identified in the deed, written documentation of the power of attorney shall be provided.

(c) Where the grantor is a trustee, the writing creating the trust shall be provided.

(d) Where the grantor is a corporation, documentation of the filing of Articles of Incorporation with the appropriate state agency shall be provided.

(e) Where, under the regulations of the Department, the grantor may legally be someone other than the record owner of the real estate identified in the deed, the Commissioner shall determine the appropriate documentation to be provided.

(3) The Department shall take such other reasonable steps as it deems appropriate to determine the cause of any apparent discrepancy revealed as a result of the records check in subsection (1) and a review of the documents in subsection (2).

(a) If the Department determines that there is no discrepancy, it shall record the deed, pursuant to state law.

(b) If the Department determines that a discrepancy exists, but is satisfied with the explanation for the discrepancy, the Department shall record the deed as presented, pursuant to state law.

(c) If the Department determines that there is no reasonable explanation for a discrepancy, or if the required documents are not provided as outlined in subsection (2), the Department shall stamp the deed with the wordsNot Certified”, and then record the deed, pursuant to state law.

(d) In implementing this Section, the Department may charge such additional fees as authorized by Section 10-1001(1)(a).

(e) The Department shall report to the appropriate governmental agency any suspected fraud revealed in connection with an unexplained discrepancy.

(4) Any deed delivered to the Department by mail through the United States Postal Service shall not be recorded unless it has been sent by registered or certified mail.

(5) Prior to the recording of any deed for which title insurance has not been obtained insuring the marketability of the title to the real estate identified therein, the Department shall provide a written disclosure to the grantee, which shall (i) explain the risk of purchasing property without title insurance or legal counsel, including the risk of fraud and of assuming the liens, judgments and other debts of prior owners; (ii) provide information on legal services and (iii) be in plain language and translated in the language understood by the grantee.

(6) Within thirty (30) days of the recording of any deed, the Department shall notify, by first class mail, the prior record owner of the real estate identified therein, and the occupant at the address of the real estate identified therein, if that address is different from the record owners address, that such deed has been recorded. The Department shall, by regulation, establish a program for providing notice to certain property owners, residents, or organizations that a deed for a nearby property has been recorded, where the Department finds such notice would be reasonable and appropriate, and would assist in reducing or preventing fraudulent real property transactions, or would attenuate the impact of any fraudulent real property transaction.

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