During stressful times, such as now, people look for extra certainty that the steps they are taking in their real estate deals are good ones. Sadly, they are right because these are often the times when fraudsters are looking to take advantage, and with government offices closing across the country, the ability to do deals may be at issue. For over 25 years, lawyers and notaries in Canada have been relying on title insurance to bring certainty to their deals. In chaotic times, title insurance can provide even more certainty.
One of the most important assurances that protect against both fraud and office closures is our gap coverage. GAP coverage is available, should the Land Titles / Registry Offices be forced to close for a period of time.
During any potential closure, one can rely on Chicago Title’s Gap Coverage included in Chicago Title’s residential and commercial title insurance policies to close residential and commercial transactions. Gap Coverage insures both purchasers and lenders against losses due to intervening registrations on title between the date of closing and the date of registration.
Gap Coverage is available, as long as
* the title search has been done within 30 days of closing and
* All documents are executed by all parties to the transaction and exchanged by the parties
In jurisdictions where online registration is available, there should not be any disruption of service. If these services either close or experience delays, Gap Coverage will be in force in the same manner.
Don’t settle for anything less than a full title insurance policy containing optimal coverage. GAP is important, but a complete title insurance policy will provide better protection. Given that tax and other municipal offices are closing and other issues such as survey, zoning, work order, etc. are still relevant and can not be searched, a full policy is more important than ever.
We see ourselves as a second set of eyes for law firms to avoid issues, in particular in the area of fraud and forgery.
In instances where you need to verify identifications remotely or execute documents by virtual means, Chicago Title will issue title insurance policies to protect the parties to the transaction.
Transaction Protection Endorsement (TPE)
During these rapidly changing times, the purchaser gets extra protection when a law firm chooses Transaction Protection Endorsement (TPE) with Chicago Title Insurance. This endorsement protects the purchasers of residential and commercial properties against loss or damage as a result of undetected issues which might otherwise take them to Court. In addition to the Purchaser’s Solicitor coverage, the purchaser gets Vendor’s Solicitor coverage too. Not all companies provide all of this coverage, so be aware of what you are getting.
Our Tax Verification Service is available to issue Tax Certificates. Some municipalities do not have the technology in place for accessing the information online, and we are closely monitoring the situation. Even when we cannot produce a formal Tax Certificate, we can usually provide verbal confirmations in order to facilitate your transactions and provide coverage for the purchasers and lenders.
Chicago Title will provide coverage over arrears of real estate taxes where evidence/confirmation was obtained through a receipted tax bill of payment or an undertaking from the vendor (or declaration from the borrower on refinance transactions) confirming realty taxes and utilities to the extent they can form a lien are paid to date.
Other Off-Title Searches
With regards to other off-title searches, if the current situation prevents a law firm from obtaining responses from Municipalities or Government offices, please know that Chicago Title will work with you to provide title insurance coverage where we can in order to close the real estate transaction.
As a result of COVID-19 and social distancing, Chicago Title will issue title insurance policies in the event, the closing of a real estate transaction is done remotely by using technology such as video conference. If lawyers are using video conferences to close their transactions and verify the identity of the parties, measures need to be put in place to mitigate some of the risks associated with this practice.
Chicago Title’s ID Verification service is here to help. The knowledge-based authentication process uses information that should only be known by the client. Only the true identity owner should be able to correctly answer the questions when having their identity verified. When the closing of the transaction or verification of identity is not face-to-face, please let us know by adding a note to the title insurance order.
So, in conclusion, if these troubling times are making you stressed and worried about your deals closing, call Chicago Title to see how we can help allay those fears.