Texas Legislature Passes Bill Eliminating Roadblock to Record Remotely Notarized Real Estate Transactions

August 6, 2019

The Texas legislature recently passed a bill that provides recording jurisdictions with additional clarity when conducting paper recordings of electronically executed documents.

SB 2128, which goes into effect Sept. 1, addresses several uncertainties previously acknowledged in regard to remote online notarization (RON) in Texas. Under this bill, a notary will be able to certify via an affidavit that a paper copy of a notarized electronic record is a true and correct copy, and county clerks will be required to record the transaction.

NotaryCam Founder and CEO Rick Triola praised the Texas legislature for passing the bill.

“Even though RON has been legal in Texas for nearly a year, nuances in the state’s real estate laws legislation have created unforeseen roadblocks to adoption,” Triola said. “However, the passage of SB 2128 should remove the final hurdle for RON adoption in Texas. By passing this bill, the Texas legislature has removed doubt that a properly executed RON transaction will be accepted by county recorders statewide, thus paving the way for mortgage lenders and title/settlement professionals to begin executing remotely notarized and closed Texas-based real estate transactions.”

According to data from the Property Records Industry Association (PRIA), only 71 of the 254 counties in Texas current offer e-recording. With most counties lacking the capabilities to e-record, the Texas legislature recognized the current state of affairs and enacted a solution to allow RON transactions to move forward regardless of a particular jurisdiction’s recording procedures.

“On a practical level, SB 2128 expands the definition of a paper document to include electronic records that have been ‘papered out,’ thus removing any doubt that these documents are eligible to be recorded in the state of Texas,” said Celia Flowers, owner of East Texas Title. “After talking to my clerks after the original RON statute went into effect last year, I quickly discovered that many of them did not know about the bill, nor did they understand what RON was. As a result, many of them—especially those that did not e-record—were not going to accept documents that had been electronically notarized. I think this bill resolves many of the concerns clerks had regarding RON by providing a legally accepted framework for converting electronic document into paper format for recording purposes.”

Triola and Flowers, along with the Texas Land Title Association’s Director of Government Affairs and Counsel Aaron Day and James Anderson from Championship Title, will share lessons learned from Texas’s roll-out of RON during ALTA ONE in Austin. The session, “Notable: Texas Title Agents are Rocking with RON,” will take place from 10:30-11:30 a.m. CT, Oct. 23. For more information on the session and the conference, go to meetings.alta.org/one/.

Contact ALTA at 202-296-3671 or communications@alta.org.