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CAN STANDARD EXCEPTIONS ON TITLE COMMITMENTS BE REMOVED?
By: David Berman, Esq. of Barry Miller Law, Offices Orlando.
If you have ever purchased a home, you have likely encountered a title commitment, which is the document in which a title insurer discloses to the buyer and seller any liens, defects, encumbrances, or other matters which affect the property under contract. Within the commitment is a section generally known as the Schedule B-II, which is a list of exceptions to the title insurance policy. An exception listed on the title commitment, which carries over to the title insurance policy limits the coverage under the title policy. Therefore, it is in the consumer’s best interest to have as many title exceptions as possible from the title commitment removed so they do not carry over to the final title insurance policy.
The first few Schedule B-II exceptions are often referred to as “standard exceptions,” as they are exclusions from the title insurance coverage that the title company applies to all properties, rather than being unique to the property under contract.
Generally, there are four standard exceptions, usually phrased something like the following:
- Facts which would be disclosed by an accurate and comprehensive survey of the property;
- Rights or claims of parties in possession;
- Construction, mechanic’s, contractors’ or materialmen’s lien claims, if any, where no notice thereof appears of record; and
- Easements or claims of easements not shown by the public records.
Most often, these standard exceptions can be removed from your title policy, expanding the coverage provided by your title insurance. This is generally done through the use of acceptable affidavits establishing things such as who is in possession of the lands, attesting that there are no liens or encumbrances on the land except for those identified in the title commitment, that no improvements have been made to the property within the past ninety days, and that there are no unrecorded fees, taxes, or assessments that do not appear as existing liens in the public records.
Further, standard exceptions with respect to survey matters can generally be removed upon review of a properly certified survey of the property meeting certain minimum professional requirements.
The Closing Agent and Barry Miller Law automatically removes these standard exceptions whenever possible. If you, or someone you know, has legal questions concerning real estate, contact Barry Miller Law for assistance at 407-423-1700 or email us at [email protected] for a free consultation.
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