The Illinois Land Title Association is a depository for information of interest to its members at-large. This page is ever evolving to include updates on industry issues both local and national as well as a library of archived ILTA “E” news updates.
Illinois County Recorder Office Information During COVID-19
With COVID-19 impacting all business throughout the U.S., ILTA has compiled information regarding recorder offices in Illinois. The information includes if the recorder’s office is open, if it has online searching, and if it accepts e-Recordings. All counties accept documents via mail, Fedx, and UPS and several will allow drop off of documents at the courthouse if given to a security guard.
Important Caveat: Information contained in this document is collected from ILTA members and staff research and is rapidly changing. This document is designed to be for general reference only.
For the latest information on operating procedures at any recording office, please visit their website or reach out to them directly.
Update as of 2/26/2020
Over the past week, the Illinois Land Title Association was proactive in requesting recognition for essential services and emergency action for remote online notarization in Illinois. Please see the below resources and updates on expected activity this week.
An executive proclamation is expected from the Governor in the near future regarding remote online notarization, which may also coincide with guidance from the Secretary of State to help the industry and consumers better understand trusted and secure online platforms.
Please note that state emergency action may not create an immediate ability for remote closings. Agents and underwriters will still need to work together to confirm the use of a particular vendor and set applicable compliance standards.
The association has worked to try and ensure (1) recognition that online, audio-visual recording platforms should uphold the integrity of a notary seal, such as providing for multi-factor authentication and tamper-evident capabilities, (2) Illinois commissioned notaries should be allowed to provide e-notarization services on platforms they are qualified to use, and (3) certified copies of e-notarized documents and out-of-state notarial acts that at least utilize secure procedures should be recognized in Illinois.
We will share any updates regarding emergency actions from the state, and try to help digest and clarify any provisions as we work through this together.
Update as of 3/24/20
While a shelter-in-place order has been issued in Illinois, “title companies” are exempt as financial institutions listed under Essential Businesses and Operations in Executive Order 2020-10 (see EO 2020-10, par. 12(f)).
Although the shelter-in-place order exempts title company businesses and operations as essential services, the order also states that “[e]ach government body shall determine its Essential Governmental Functions and identify employees and/or contractors necessary to the performance of those functions” (see EO 2020-10, par. 10).
We are aware that some underwriters are distributing information on the operations of local government offices in terms of office closures and access to title, tax, or recording information. The association will also continue trying to keep up-to-date information, which can be found by clicking here, and we ask that you let us know of any changes you encounter in the coming weeks by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.
The association has also reached out to county officials throughout the state to highlight the fundamental economic impact of title insurance entities and to disseminate an essential services request of their offices:
- Processing electronic recordings
- Acceptance of mailed documents sent through FedEx, UPS, or similar overnight, certified delivery services
- Dropoff access at designated times for processing in the order received
- Accepting digital notarizations or copies of digital notarizations
- Moratorium on penalties related to delayed processing, such as tax redemptions
Regarding county offices that have suspended processing recordings or other information, we are seeking clarifications and working on alternatives that may help with your operations and compliance practices.
Remote Online Notarization
We are working with the Secretary of State’s office and Governor’s office regarding emergency action for remote online notarization in Illinois, and are hopeful for official guidance soon that (1) allows notaries commissioned in Illinois to provide remote online notarization services, and (2) approves the use of remote online notary vendors with products that uphold recognized standards for multi-factor authentication and tamper-evident technology.
Please note that state emergency action will not create an immediate ability for remote closings. Agents and underwriters will still need to work together to confirm the use of a particular vendor and set applicable compliance standards.
For reference, the association was active in providing best practice information that was utilized in the Secretary of State’s 2019 Notarization Task Force report (click here) and subsequently filed 2020 legislation (click here). In light of recent events related to COVID-19, the association has been in encouraging action at the state level regarding remote online notarization that is still consistent with the best practices recognized in the task force report and legislation.
Paul Peterson of FNTG and a member of ILTA’s Ad-hoc Committee on Blockchain wrote a substantive article on Blockchain for the ISBA who has copyright on this article. “But whether blockchain can be an effective technology for certainly of land titles or a suitable replacement for title insurance remains to be seen. . . ” To read the full ISBA article click button below. ILTA has also provided its memo on “Issues to Implementing Blockchain for Real Estate.”