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Kansas: Real Estate Licensees Can Now Own Title Companies

January 24, 2005

An 18-year battle in Kansas to give real estate licensees the ability to own title insurance companies—that serve primarily as a way for licensees to sell insurance to their own clients—ended Jan. 1, when a new law allowing the practice took effect.

Kansas Gov. Kathleen Sebelius signed the legislation, known as the Controlled Business Act, into law last April. The law says that as much as 70 percent of a title company's business can now come from an affiliated real estate broker or salesperson. Previous law stipulated that no more than 20 percent of the title company's business could come from a single real estate practitioner.

The new law applies to Kansas counties with more than 10,000 residents. Small counties never had restrictions on title company ownership. "We very much wanted this law so our members could participate in these kinds of companies," says Karen Gehle, chief executive at the Kansas Association of REALTORS®.

The new law also says real estate professionals must disclose to property buyers any ownership interest they have in a title business. The disclosure form also must include the names of three other title insurance providers. Copies of the disclosure form can be found at the Kansas Insurance Department Web site.

By Jane Adler for REALTOR® Magazine Online

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