The status of electronic information technology has progressed rapidly in recent years. Innovations in software, hardware, communications technology and security protocols have made it technically feasible to create, sign and transmit real estate transactions electronically. However, approaching the end of the 20th Century, various state and federal laws limited the enforceability of electronic documents. In response, the Uniform Electronic Transactions Act (UETA) was approved by the National Conference of Commissioners on Uniform State Laws (NCCUSL) in 1999. As of October 1, 2004, UETA had been adopted in 46 states, the District of Columbia, and the U.S. Virgin Islands. The federal Electronic Signatures in Global and National Commerce Act (E-Sign) was also adopted in 2000. The two acts give legal effect to real estate transactions that are executed electronically and allow them to be enforced between the parties to the transaction. In response, a few states have convened study committees or task forces to consider the question of recording electronic documents (see Report of Iowa State Bar Ass’n, Real Estate Modernization Comm., draft of Ch. 558B – Iowa Electronic Recording Act (2001); Conn. Law Revision Comm., An Act Establishing the Connecticut Real Property Electronic Recording System (Conn. Gen Assembly, Judiciary Comm., Raised Bill No. 5664, 2004)). In 2002, a drafting committee was established by the NCCUSL Executive Committee to draft a Uniform Real Property Electronic Recording Act. The Committee’s decision followed a recommendation of the NCCUSL Committee on Scope and Program. Their actions were in recognition of a strong recommendation from the Joint Editorial Board on Uniform Real Property Acts that a uniform act be drafted. The Uniform Real Property Electronic Recording Act was drafted to remove any doubt about the authority of the recorder to receive and record documents and information in electronic form. Its fundamental principle is that any requirements of state law describing or requiring that a document be an original, on paper, or in writing are satisfied by a document in electronic form. Furthermore, any requirement that the document contain a signature or acknowledgment is satisfied by an electronic signature or acknowledgement. The act specifically authorizes a recorder, at the recorder’s option, to accept electronic documents for recording and to index and store those documents.
Uniform Real Property Electronic Recording Act (Last Revised or Amended in 2005)