Ohio, Maine Pass Bills Banning Unfair Real Estate Fee Agreements

July 11, 2023

Ohio and Maine became the latest states to pass bills protecting homeowners from the predatory practice of filing of unfair real estate fee agreements in property records, known as Non-Title Record Agreements for Personal Service (NTRAPS).

Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine signed HB 33 on July 3. Maine Gov. Janet Mills signed LD 1306 on June 23.

Other states to pass versions of a NTRAPs bill include Alabama, Colorado, Florida, Georgia, Idaho, Iowa, Maryland, North Dakota, Tennessee, Utah and Washington.

The legislation in Ohio and Maine follows a model bill that ALTA helped draft with input from AARP and national stakeholders. The model bill created a blueprint for states wishing to provide a remedy for existing NTRAPS while also discouraging future unfair and deceptive practices.  

“The property rights of American homebuyers must be protected,” said Elizabeth Blosser, ALTA’s vice president of government affairs “A home often is a consumer’s largest investment, and the best way to support the certainty of landownership is through public policy. We have to ensure there are no unreasonable restraints on a homebuyer’s future ability to sell or refinance their property due to unwarranted transactional costs.” 

NTRAPS have been recorded in property records since 2018. The language included in Ohio HB 33 follows the objective of similar bills introduced across the country to provide a remedy for existing NTRAPS while also discouraging these types of unfair practices impacting homeowners. 

The Ohio and New England land title associations supported the bills in each of their states, as did the AARP.

“This follows our advocacy efforts we have undertaken in collaboration with ALTA in other states and we expect and hope to work on similar legislative solutions in other states in helping homeowners against such predatory housing practices,” said AARP Government Affairs Director Samar Jha.   

The new law in both states will:

  • Make NTRAPS unenforceable by law.
  • Restrict and prohibit the recording of NTRAPS in property records.
  • Create penalties if NTRAPS are recorded in property records.
  • Provide for the removal of NTRAPS from property records and recovery of damages.

Contact ALTA at 202-296-3671 or [email protected].