Daniel’s Law, a New Jersey law intended to protect public officials from privacy invasion, was enacted in response to the tragic death of Daniel Anderl, the son of Judge Esther Salas and Mark Anderl. The law prohibits disclosure of the residential addresses of certain persons covered by the law (“Covered Persons”) on websites controlled by state, county, and local government agencies.
In an unprecedented move, Gloucester County, New Jersey, has removed all online access to county land records starting from April 1, 2023, citing the implementation of Daniel’s Law. These land records are needed to perform title searches as part of most real estate transactions.
This decision will have significant implications for individuals and businesses relying on remote access to these records for various purposes. It is anticipated that other counties in New Jersey may follow suit, further limiting remote accessibility to recorded land records.
Daniel’s Law establishes guidelines and regulations for accessing land records, and it does allow for the in-person inspection of these records by registered Title Searchers and others. That means that boots-on-the-ground Title Searchers can still perform title searches in this county, and real estate transactions can continue as usual, just without online access.
And this brings up another matter—what about the general public? Do you think they would like their privacy protected as well? If so, could we see a demand for discontinued online access of recorded land records?
Many Title Searchers around the USA perform title searches online (many are even performed overseas using online resources), so if many more counties adopt this change, it could be a major shift in how title searches are done. For years the industry has been going more online, more remote, but does what Gloucester county is doing signal a transition back to a less technological time? Do you see this as a step in the right direction, or the wrong direction? Many professional Title Searchers would argue that using registered local Title Searchers who have to make a trip to the county courthouse to search the public land records will make for more reliable, and more professional searches (not to mention the privacy protections afforded by removing online access to land records)—what do you think?
Either way, Real Title Services has you covered—we have boots-on-the-ground searchers in over 3,000 counties nationwide.
PLACE AN ORDER OR GET A QUOTE TODAY: firstname.lastname@example.org
Angela M. Sharp, Chief Marketing Officer
Real Title Services
On Tue, May 16, 2023 at 6:54 AM
For new york in 3 years it hasn’t effected anyone for privacy. They did it because of covid to help all of us keep the work flowing. Noone could leave the house. Not even the clerk. New jersey doesn’t effect us however I don’t see a change in new York. The clerks here are lazy and loving the efile and public getting what they need like a fast deed. They are all being charged way more then if they came in the courthouse so they are making money as well and I doubt ny will take away revenue because there greedy lol
That’s a good counter point–revenue!! You’re right, I don’t think it will change unless there is immense public pressure.
If you have to be a registered title searcher in order to obtain access to unredacted public records of law enforcement and other possible ‘targets’ of crazy people or criminals…. I AM ALL FOR IT. Plus, like others have stated here, it will make for actual, correct title searches being done again. No more quickie searches being done by people who have no idea what they are doing. There are many concerns on both sides of this issue. Years ago ALTA wrote up their recommendations to County Recorders. You can find it here: https://www.alta.org/advocacy/data-privacy.cfm?2020 It is well worth reading. I also copied it here. Read the last section for their solutions.
ALTA Real Property Records Committee (RPRC)
Privacy, Redaction, and Public Land Records
V.1.10 Published 8-27-2019
Privacy, Redaction, and Public Land Records
Redaction is intended to shield the location and other personal information of individuals with recognized safety concerns from being accessible through documents contained in the public land records. While there is a need to shield protected classes with recognized privacy concerns, that need must be addressed in a way that does not impede normal business activities.
One of the cornerstones of our country’s wealth and economy is the safe and efficient transfer of real property. The public land record is critical to this process. Redacting specific parts of a document or expunging/removing an entire recorded document can prevent access to information and documents that are necessary for providing constructive notice, protecting land rights, and preventing fraud.
Redaction can create unintended consequences including severely restricting or even prohibiting people from buying and selling real estate. Even worse, redaction can create a false sense of security for the people who are intended to be protected and can increase the risk of fraud.
Where privacy is a recognized concern and Redaction of public land records works:
• To comply with federal requirements under Gramm-Leach-Bliley (GLB) to protect Non-Public Personal Information (NPPI or NPI), specifically an individual name in conjunction with:
o Social Security Numbers
o Credit or debit card numbers
o State identification card numbers
o Driver’s license numbers
o Bank and financial account numbers
o Login and password credentials
Where privacy is a recognized concern, but Redaction of public land records is not an effective solution:
• To accommodate citizens’ concerns for safety and security by redacting names and addresses of:
o Victims of domestic violence
o Peace Officers, Military Servicemembers, and other First Responders
o Legislators and Judges
o Regulators and Code Enforcement Personnel
o Medical Professionals
o Other Public Figures
The potential impact of Redaction of public land records on Consumers:
• Homeowners and prospective purchasers may experience significant delays, burdensome work, and extra steps to complete real estate transactions because documented ownership cannot be established through intended use of the public land record
• Consumers may be unable to lock in the lowest interest rate for mortgages and refinances
• Redaction can create a gap in the record of ownership which presents opportunities for fraudulent land transactions
The potential impact of Redaction of public land records on Businesses:
• Lenders can’t lend without the ability to document and prove land ownership
• Construction businesses may have a difficult time successfully filing mechanics’ liens
• Title Insurers may be unable to determine lien priority using the public record
The potential impact of Redaction of public land records on Local Government:
• Creation of unfunded mandates for the Recorder/Clerk to:
o Acquire or upgrade Land Record Management Software (LRMS)
o Increase staff or staff time to do the redaction or review/correct automatic software-applied redaction
• Creation of responsibility for policy and processes to store and restore unredacted versions of records to make them available to support property owners and real estate transactions
• Potential for inconsistent interpretation and implementation of requirements across counties
• Challenges to correctly and efficiently send tax bills to land owners
• Potential for liability created by unintended disclosure:
o What happens when information which should have been redacted is not?
o What happens when redaction policies are applied in error?
How will information and documents be restored in an un-redacted state?
o What happens when documents filed prior to the redaction policy effective date continue to display information which would have been redacted after the redaction policy’s effective date?
Additional unintended consequences of Redaction of public land records:
• Erosion of public confidence in the public land record – the biggest driver of wealth creation in our economy
• Benefits and protections will be outweighed by the costs and burdens placed on the people who are intended to be protected
• Conflicts with Freedom of Information Act laws
• Increased potential for fraud through gaps in the chain of title and lack of transparency
• Creates a false sense of security for those who are intended to be protected
Recommendations for effective solutions to protect privacy in the public land records:
• Limit anonymous access to public land records and/or require system access controls and account credentials for access to the details of protected records
• Encourage individuals and protected groups to use LLCs, trusts, or alternative address information (e.g., attorney or bank) to address privacy or security concerns when purchasing land
• Limit redaction to preserve constructive notice; redaction of name in conjunction with address or legal description eliminates constructive notice
Wow, thanks for all that info Patty! As usual, you are on the ball with the most current title search issues!
Oh that’s Rich!!!!
I call the dentist and this devise answers the phone with if your a existing Patient press one or New Patient press two!! Me I still waiting waiting for option #3
I’m sure that was a registered Person!!
At the appointment Medical History came up, to which I said when I do feel well I go the the herb shop and express the issue and they hand me a bottle and I go home take it and feel better.
Last at the appoint I am supposed to sign off that I understand the process. I told them it was impossible to do so in the 15 minute time frame, give me the pile of Statutory crap your referring to and I’ll spend the weekend reading it and let you know it if agree.
Some guy spoke about the last 90 years and I suspect he was referring to March 9, 1933.
How much is enough? We it comes to the Clowns in Congress a little bit goes all the way!
Go get the Elton John Song “Deny the Passengers” and read the words.
Non-commercial Native, It’s Tattooed in your veins, but your living in a blood bank and riding on this train.
The Spirit’s free but you’ll always find Passengers stand and wait in line!!!
In title research we seek a starting point – this is the full lyric
Interestingly, two things recently happened in Arizona. A state senator, Wendy Rogers, sought a protective order against a reporter who was investigating her true residential address. There were/are some suspicions that she does not reside in the 1,000 s.f. mobile home registered to her in her district, but a larger, stick & stucco house outside of her district. Rogers sought an order to prevent the reporter from doing her job.
The protective order was initially granted, but, upon a hearing in one of the lower trial courts, the injunction was vacated.
On the heels of this, SB1061 was signed into law allowing elected politicians to have their property records redacted from publicly accessible county recorders’ records.
You can read more on this at: https://rapidrps.com/blog/f/when-is-a-protective-order-an-abuse-of-process
That is very interesting! I don’t think we’ve heard the last on this…
My initial reaction to the removal of remote access was in opposition. However, in the last few years, we ”boots on the ground” title examiners are being phased out by overseas title search providers or a very less experienced title company staffer who only knows how to fill in the blanks on their tittle search report form. The valuable title research knowledge a select few have garnered over the years is only appreciated and used by very few attorneys and title companies. Most are satisfied with a report that only recites mortgage, liens and tax status and current titled owner. Schedule ”B” exceptions have become little concern. Maybe actual physical access to records will be best for the industry and property owners
Shut down online services with the exception of chain of title information and recording
Interesting solution. Might be an administrative nightmare to enact though…