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  • January 23, 2015 5:41 PM | Michael Russo (Administrator)


      I want to update you regarding the meeting on Thursday January 22 with DISB Associate Commissioner Philip Barlow and Actuary Robert Nkojo and Birny Birnbaum the independent contractor retained by DISB to conduct the rate examination.    The meeting was also attended by Justin Ailes and Wayne Stanley with ALTA, Donna F. Shuler and Tessa Edison with Answer Title, Ben Soto with Premium Title, Todd Ewing with Federal Title, Amy Klein with District Title and Elizabeth Russo with MCP Title Services, LLC. 

     The bottom line is: DISB will be sending questionnaires to at least 10 DC settlement companies whom they will select and will expect answers about how these agents conduct their business.  Agents will be selected by DISB and DISB states that responses will be kept confidential.  DISB’s examiner will then visit the 10 selected companies and spend about 4 hours interviewing employees and following up on the questions and answers.  This process is permitted in a regulated industry, as ours now is, and cannot be avoided. 

    The proposed questions can be found at this link:
    DISB - draft request to title agents 1-22-15.pdf

     Once DISB gets this information it will publish a report on the industry in DC and will make recommendations as to whether DC policy premium rates are too high.  THIS WILL HAPPEN. 

    The question for DCLTA and its members is: What can we do about it?  Our concern is that if DISB’s examination is not comprehensive enough they will fail to determine the nature and scope of all the work DC agents perform and expenses they incur to provide first class service to the DC community.


    Phillip Barlow invited the agents to volunteer examination of their business operations and or to share any information that they believe would be useful for DISB’s understanding of the business, even if the information is not included in the draft requests, attached above.  DISB would like information about title issues unique to DC.  DCLTA WILL NEED YOUR COOPERATION IN PROVIDING THIS INFORMATION EVEN IF YOU ARE NOT ONE OF THE SELECTED AGENTS.


    We urge you to review the draft questions and provide me with your concerns as soon as possible.  Also, I need your comments on how best to inform DISB of the realities of our industry in DC.    Finally, please let me know whether you would be willing to provide DCLTA with your own company’s answers to these questions – even if you are not one of the selected companies – so that we can compile the responses and forward them to DISB (without identifying your agency).




    We encourage you to get involved and have a voice in the process.




    Mike Russo,

    President, DC Land Title Association.

    DISB - draft request to title agents 1-22-15.pdf

  • January 09, 2015 4:29 PM | John Reid (Administrator)

    As most settlement agents and attorneys know too well, escrowing the correct amount for outstanding utility bills is crucial during residential transactions when final bills are not available until after closing has occurred.

    To assist our members, I have attached the preferred form to request the outstanding DC Water balance prior to closing.

    Certified Balance Request Form (2).docx

  • December 23, 2014 3:03 PM | John Reid (Administrator)

    Dear John,

    If you are contemplating a career move while between your various holiday over-indulgences, attached are some job vacancy announcements that may be of interest to you!

    Warm Holiday Wishes,


    ROD-Examiner Position.pdf

    ROD-Lead Examiner Position.pdf

  • December 22, 2014 11:55 AM | Michael Russo (Administrator)


                  As many of you are aware the District of Columbia’s Department of Insurance, Security and Banking (DISB) is conducting a market conduct examination of the DC’s title insurance rates. The stated goal of this examination is to “evaluat[e] DC title insurance rates and examining issues related to the operating environment in DC for title insurers and title agents…to identify all title insurance and settlement service activities to ensure that expenses associated with each set of activities are segregated or assigned to just those activities. … to examine all title insurance and settlement expenses to perform any evaluation of the reasonableness of the agent commission.”

                Specifically, it is currently not clear to the DISB “why DC title insurers are paying 80 to 85% of the risk rate title   premium in commissions to title agents.  District of Columbia Title Rate Examination: Revised Follow Up Questions, November 6, 2014.  DISB is seeking to identify the specific roles and activities of settlement   agents in a settlement of DC property so that they can assess the cost to the consumer of products and services to consumers.

                  To assist in this process and to make sure that all of our membership has a voice in the process, I am inviting any interested settlement company member, or any member in any aspect of our industry, to volunteer to communicate with DISB’s representatives to educate them on the realities of their respective roles in our industry.  It is my goal that the governmental unit that regulates our industry is acutely aware of the work, professional judgment, training and experience that goes into bringing a high quality experience and insurance product to the citizens of the District of Columbia.

                  Participation in this process will require only a modest time commitment from settlement agents and should be concluded in the next several weeks.  If you are able to participate in this important process affecting our industry please contact me at your next convenience at

    Thank you and have a great holiday season.

    Mike Russo

    President, DC Land Title Association.

  • October 08, 2014 1:51 PM | John Reid (Administrator)

    ROD has posted on its website general recording requirements for commercial refinances and modifications/amendments.  The requirements are in line with OTR’s Notice of May 2014, and hopefully answer the questions of commercial filers in terms of required supporting documentations.


    The purpose of this document is to mainly enforce a uniform, standard way of the information presented on the statement to the FP7.   A standardized statement to the FP-7 will assist filers to submit relevant information and to present them in an order that facilitates an effective and accurate review by ROD examiners.  


    Below is the link to the newly posted document.  Please feel free to contact the ROD management staff if there are any questions.  Please share this email with your colleagues.  Thank you!



  • September 24, 2014 1:35 PM | Michael Russo (Administrator)

    EMAIL FROM IDA WILLIAMS, Esq., DC RECORDER OF DEED -- Final Draft of Part J of FP-7

    Attached is the final draft of Part J of FP-7 which reflects some of the suggestions from the DCLTA membership.  Thank you everyone for your comments!

    The revised FP7 form is targeted to be on ROD’s website in a couple of weeks.  It will be the only FP7 form that ROD will accept as of January 1, 2015, so please keep it in mind when conducting settlements close to the end of this calendar year.   

    As usual, myself and ROD Deputy Amy Conn will be more than happy to answer your questions on this matter.


    Ida Williams, Esq.

    Recorder of Deeds

    Office of the Recorder of Deeds

    Real Property Tax Administration

    Office of Tax and Revenue

    1101 4th St SW-5W

    Washington D.C. 20024

    Direct phone: (202) 442-8610

  • September 16, 2014 11:06 AM | Michael Russo (Administrator)


    I would like to get the attention of DCLTA members about a new OTR notice on purchase money deeds of trust.  The notice is very simple and straightforward in requiring full compliance with DC Code 42-1103(b-1)(2).  Below is the link to the notice.  This notice is the precursor to the upcoming notice and changes in the FP-7.  Please feel free to contact me if there are any questions.

  • September 16, 2014 10:41 AM | Michael Russo (Administrator)

    The Recorder of Deeds has reached out to DCLTA to get our members input on the proposed revisions to the FP7 Form.

     The main revision will focus on Part J of the FP7 which deals with consideration and its financing.  The current form does not provide for information on what portion of the loan is purchase money.  So, the intent is to have the filers separately show the purchase money amount or other exempt amounts vs. the non-exempt amounts.

     Please see the email below from Ida Williams, Recorder of Deeds, and provide your input by email. Thank you.

    The proposed revision aims at revamping Part J of the FP-7.  Currently part J provides fields for Cash, First Mortgage, Second Mortgage; Assumed.  There is Line 1 “Construction loan”; line 2 “Total Consideration”; line 3 “Assessed value if no consideration or nominal”. 


    DC Code section 42-1103 (b-1)(2) provides for recording requirements of a purchase money deed of trust.  One of the provisions is that a purchase money DOT should recite on its face the amount of purchase money being secured by the instrument.  The industry and ROD practice so far has been to overlook this requirement.  Very rarely do purchase money DOT-s, commercial and residential, conform with this legal requirement.  The current FP7 doesn’t provide for separate fields for the purchase money to be inserted.   


     (2) A purchase money mortgage or purchase money deed of trust submitted to the Mayor for recordation shall:
             (A) Be executed by the purchaser of the real property as part of a series of transactions conveying title to real property to the purchaser;
             (B) Reference the deed conveying title to the purchaser of the real property by date and instrument number;
             (C) Recite on the face of the document that it is a purchase money mortgage or purchase money deed of trust; and
             (D) Recite on the face of the document the amount of purchase money that it secures.



    The effort at this point is to have part J of the FP-7 contain fields for the purchase money amount and other exempt amounts in cases of refinances, modifications or other partially exempt transactions.  Below is an idea in its very infant stages as to what Part J of FP7 should contain.  Suggestions and ideas are being sought to have a comprehensive and easy to follow part J of FP-7.


    Part J-Consideration and Financing


    • (a)    Acquisition



    First Mortgage                 Purchase Money Amount _______                        Non-Exempt Amount ______

    Second Mortgage            Purchase Money Amount _______                        Non-Exempt Amount ______

    Assumed                             Purchase Money Amount _______                        Non-Exempt Amount ______



    Total of All Non-Exempt DOT-s                                                                                                                                  _______________


    • (b)   Financing NOT Related to Transfer of Title


    First Deed of Trust                           Exempt Amount ­­­­­­­­­­­ _______________                     Non-Exempt Amount _______

    Second Deed of Trust                    Exempt Amount ­­­­­­­­­­­ _______________                     Non-Exempt Amount _______

    Other                                                    Exempt Amount ­­­­­­­­­­­ _______________                     Non-Exempt Amount _______


    Total of all Non-Exempt DOTs                                                                                                                                     ____________________               


    Line 1.   Total Acquisition Consideration

    Line 2.   If no consideration use Assessed Value

    Line 3.  Total of all Non-Exempt DOTs (a and b)


     Ida Williams, Esq.

    Recorder of Deeds

    Office of the Recorder of Deeds

    Real Property Tax Administration

    Office of Tax and Revenue

    1101 4th St SW-5W

    Washington D.C. 20024

    Direct phone: (202) 442-8610

  • August 29, 2014 5:07 PM | Michael Russo (Administrator)

    In a stunning reversal of the holding of the D.C. Superior Court, the D.C. Court of Appeals held that the foreclosure of a condominium lien can extinguish the lien of a deed of trust.  The case, which was decided August 28, 2014, is Chase Plaza Condominium Association, Inc. and Darcy, LLC,  v. JP Morgan Chase Bank, N.A.,  

    The primary issue in the case was whether the special 6 month priority given to condominium association dues under D.C. Code § 42-1903.13 (a)(2) resulted in a lien that if foreclosed, would extinguish all inferior liens, including deeds of trusts and mortgages.  The Superior Court had ruled that the liens were not extinguished but the Court of Appeals reversed this ruling and held that all subordinate liens were extinguished by the foreclosure.  If this holding is not further challenged by JP Morgan, the result will be that the lien of all deeds of trust which are secured by condominium units are subject to being extinguished when the unit holder fails to pay any condominium dues.

    A copy of the opinion can be found at this link

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