Welcome to the 1st edition of what we hope will it be a fun and informative blog featuring a quiz to test your knowledge of Vermont title law. The blog will post on the first Wednesday of every month. At the outset, we tip our cap and give a round of applause to Mike Kennedy in his now famous Ethics blog. We will borrow shamelessly, but hopefully ethically, from Mike’s concept – starting with the Rules.
- There are no rules. You may use research, statutes, cases, Title Standards, etc.
- Firm/Team entries are welcome – just give it a name!
- Submit your answers from the web form on this page.
- We will post the answers in the Honor Roll with the next blog.
- Feel free to share this with friends and colleagues
Comments and feedback welcome. Enjoy. ~ The VATC Team
This quiz is closed – see the answers in bold below. To view this December’s winners please visit our Honor Roll page. Click here to view January’s quiz.
This month’s quiz:
- Title search reveals existence of a Federal Tax Lien. Unless renewed, the lien is valid until:
- 10 years after the date it was filed;
- 6 years after the tax was first due;
- The date shown in column (e) of the lien;
Explanation: Reference Title Std. 23.1. This lien is valid for 10 years and 30 days. Always look to column (e), labeled “Last Date to Refile”.
- 15 years after the date it was filed based on adverse possession.
- Title search reveals that an easement for access, conveyed eight years ago, benefiting the search property was omitted from the deed in to the seller. The state of access is:
- There is no easement because it was not conveyed to seller. A new easement must be procured from neighbor.
- If the easement was appurtenant, the easement runs with the land and seller should grant the easement by referencing it in deed to buyer.
Explanation: Look for a Title Standard on Easements to be released in Sept. 2020.
- The buyer would have an easement by necessity for access.
- The buyer would have a prescriptive easement for access.
- Notary public acknowledges a mortgage deed on October 1, 2019. Notary fails to affix a stamp and fails to insert commission expiration date. The state of the mortgage is:
- Voidable by a bankruptcy trustee.
Explanation: Use of a stamp is strongly encouraged. Though an affidavit would help here, 26 VSA Section 5373 (a) provides that failure to meet a requirement of the Chapter “shall not impair the marketability of title or invalidate a notarial act…”. So, with a heavy sigh, this is apparently ugly but close enough per statute.
- Valid if corrected by affidavit pursuant to 26 VSA § 5373(d).
- Invalid and a new mortgage must be recorded.
- Title search reveals that the lengthy metes and bounds description in the deed to the current seller contains several typographical errors. It changes “north” to “south” in two places and it omits a call (“thence turning west and proceeding N34°38’06” W” a distance of 34.56 feet to an iron pin set in the ground”). You report the issue to seller counsel and:
- Demand a cure to this marketable title defect by getting a corrective deed from the predecessor in title.
- Rely on Title Standard 13.4 and have seller correct the errors.
- Rely on Withington v. Derrick, conclude that the errors do not impair marketable title if the deed description references a recorded survey and have seller correct the errors.
Explanation: Paraphrased, per Comment 6 of Title Standard 10.1 (Property Descriptions) provides that this description is ugly but close enough per case law.
- Demand a cure based on Title Std 10.1, Property Descriptions because the description is “vague and uncertain”.
- Title search reveals that a WW permit was issued in 2005 approving a 2 bedroom home. Current lister card shows 3 bedrooms. You:
- Don’t care because the property is automatically “clean slated” per WW Rule 1-304(a)(1).
- Report the issue to your client but say it’s not a problem because the number of bedrooms on the lister card matches the number of bedrooms in the P&S contract (e.g.3).
- Ask seller for an affidavit establishing the existence of 3 bedrooms on or before 12/31/06.
Explanation: If an affidavit is obtained, this is a classic use of the Clean Slate exception (now Rule 1-303 of the WW Rules revised 4/12/19).
- Tell the client to hire an engineer to see if the existing septic system can support 3 bedrooms.