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Governor Authorizes Temporary Use of Remote Online Notarization

By: Kim Shindle on in

A temporary notarial rule suspension to allow for remote online notarization of documents in a limited category of real estate transactions was approved by Gov. Tom Wolf this week.

For residential real estate transactions, the new rule only applies to transactions that were already in process (e.g. agreement of sale completed for residential property and only final closing needs to take place) at the time of the governor’s declared state of emergency due to the coronavirus pandemic on March 6.

“We’re pleased Gov. Wolf has issued this temporary ruling to allow Realtors® to help our clients remotely during this crisis,” said PAR President Bill Festa. “Homeowners and buyers with upcoming closings will be able to continue the process of selling and buying their homes remotely thanks to this temporary suspension.” Festa noted that PAR continues to advocate for the passage House Bill 1564 (Emerick, R-Northampton), which passed the House earlier this week and would permanently allow remote online notarization.

This limited suspension, with the safeguards described below, will enable real estate professionals to complete transactions begun prior to the disaster declaration, but protect Pennsylvanians by limiting visitors to private homes and enabling real estate professionals to comply with the governor’s directive regarding non-life sustaining businesses.

For commercial real estate transactions, the governor approved a similar suspension of the rules for both transactions that were already in process as well as new transactions during the emergency period. These suspensions will allow transactions that may be needed to assist in responding to this public health emergency, including possible needs for emergency allocation or transfer of property during this disaster declaration, while also protecting Pennsylvanians and enabling real estate professionals to comply with the governor’s directive regarding life-sustaining vs. non-life sustaining businesses.

Notaries must execute all notarial acts (including acknowledgments) in accordance with all other requirements of the Revised Uniform Law on Notarial Acts.

Not all notaries are able to do business remotely, so check with your local notary to ensure they are able to conduct business in this manner.

All notaries who are using audio-visual technology as an alternative to personal appearance must:

  • Become an approved Pennsylvania electronic notary (free application)
  • Use an e-notary solution already approved by the Department of State that offers remote notarization technology
  • Indicate in the notary certificate that the notarial act was performed by means of communication technology. The following statement will satisfy that requirement – “This notarial act involved the use of communication technology.”

More information is available on the department’s notaries webpage.

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Comments (16)

Comments

  • Karen Detwiler   March 27, 2020 at 7:16 am

    Good news! For reference, what is the actual date of the Disaster Declaration? 3/19 ?

    Reply to Karen Detwiler
  • Jim Helsel   March 27, 2020 at 7:38 am

    Thank you for this effort! This is needed so much! Hopefully this is the start of recognizing that shelter is basic need for everyone and that shelter IS what we provide to our customers and clients alike; both residential and commercial in nature.

    Reply to Jim Helsel
  • Joan   March 27, 2020 at 7:52 am

    Are closings able to be done remotely or do they still require in person signatures if the sellers docs are already notarized?

    Reply to Joan
  • Jane Maslowski   March 27, 2020 at 9:43 am

    Terrific news! Thanks for the efforts and the results, PAR!!

    Reply to Jane Maslowski
  • Kenneth Enochs Jr   March 27, 2020 at 10:02 am

    Thank you for all your hard wok in this! This will be extremely helpful moving forward. This provides all those in the real estate industry some assurance that we can continue to get these transactions closed smoothly and safely.

    Reply to Kenneth Enochs Jr
  • Sherri Anderson   March 27, 2020 at 10:12 am

    Fantastic news! Thx for all you do for us!

    Reply to Sherri Anderson
  • Stephanie Biello   March 27, 2020 at 10:13 am

    Amazing work! Thank you for protecting our members and their clients with this effort.

    Reply to Stephanie Biello
  • Pat Moyer   March 27, 2020 at 10:50 am

    Great news! Thank you PAR for your efforts to help the consumer and REALTORS!

    Reply to Pat Moyer
  • Linda rakers   March 27, 2020 at 11:16 am

    I am seeing new listings come up for sale. Then under agreement quickly. It would not have been possible to show these. What is the cut off date to be console in progress? Thank you!

    Reply to Linda rakers
    • Kevin Juliano   March 27, 2020 at 3:00 pm

      Linda – For residential real estate transactions, the new rule only applies to transactions that were already in process (e.g. agreement of sale completed for residential property and only final closing needs to take place) at the time of the governor’s declared state of emergency due to the coronavirus pandemic on March 6.

      Reply to Kevin Juliano
  • Steve Kittey   March 27, 2020 at 12:05 pm

    Great news. Thanks everyone for you efforts If we can get past this hurdle, Westmoreland County still needs to open register of wills and deeds office. Also what about home inspections and sewer dye tests?

    Reply to Steve Kittey
  • Lisa Valentino-Colson   March 27, 2020 at 12:53 pm

    Excellent news! Thank you PAR and all involved to make this happen!

    Reply to Lisa Valentino-Colson
  • Felix Figueroa   March 27, 2020 at 1:06 pm

    Thank you for all of your efforts!! It is greatly appreciated!

    Reply to Felix Figueroa
  • Vince Range   March 27, 2020 at 1:20 pm

    Great news moving forward! Thank you PAR!

    Reply to Vince Range
  • Heather Bush   March 28, 2020 at 9:00 am

    Thank you for advocating for us as well as getting the news out to us as soon as possible!

    Reply to Heather Bush

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