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H.622

Introduced by Representatives Koch of Barre Town, Towne of Berlin, Mazur of South Burlington and Nelson of Ryegate

Referred to Committee on

Date:

Subject: Real estate; marketable title; certificate of occupancy

Statement of purpose: This bill proposes to require that all instruments and municipal permits that are needed to determine marketability of record title be recorded in the appropriate town clerk’s office.

AN ACT RELATING TO MARKETABILITY OF TITLE TO REAL ESTATE

It is hereby enacted by the General Assembly of the State of Vermont:

Sec. 1. 24 V.S.A. § 1154 is amended to read:

§ 1154. RECORDS; PHOTOSTATS

(a) A town clerk shall record at length or may insert a *[photostatic copy]* photocopy duly compared with the original instrument, in books to be furnished by the town, deeds, instruments, evidences respecting real estate, writs of execution, other writs or the substance thereof, and the returns thereon, and other instruments which are delivered *[to him]* for record, including:

(1) hazardous waste site information and hazardous waste storage, treatment and disposal certifications established under 10 V.S.A. chapter 159;

(2) underground storage tank information under 10 V.S.A. chapter 59; and

(3) municipal permits, including zoning, planning, subdivision, site plan, health, street, building or other municipal permits required by statute, ordinance or regulation to be recorded, amendments, certificates of occupancy, certificates of compliance or similar certificates and any notice of violation of any permit, approval, condition or certificate. (b) Such permits or certificates shall be filed either:

(1) at length; or

(2) by a notice of recording.

(c) If such permit, certificate or notice is recorded at length, the town clerk may record such documents in books or in another appropriate manner of filing in the vault of the town clerk. If a notice of recording is filed, it shall list:

(1) as grantor, the owner of record title to the property at the time the permit, certificate or notice is issued;

(2) as grantee, the municipality issuing the permit, certificate or notice;

(3) the location where the permit, certificate or notice may be found, which location shall be in the office of the municipality and be open for public inspection during the same hours as the land records of the municipality are open for public inspection; and

(4) whether an appeal of such permit, certificate or notice has been made.

*[(b)]*(d) The town clerk shall keep in each *[of the books]* book of record an index ofreference to the instruments or records in *[such]* that book.

Sec. 2. 24 V.S.A. § 1161 is amended to read:

§ 1161. GENERAL INDEX

(a) A town clerk shall keep a general index of transactions affecting the title to real estate wherein he or she shall enter in one column, in alphabetical order, the name of the grantor to the grantee and, in a parallel column, the name of the grantee from the grantor, of every deed, conveyance, mortgage, lease or other instrument affecting the title to real estate, and each writ of attachment, notice of lien or other instrument evidencing or giving notice of an encumbrance on real estate which is filed or recorded in *[his]* the town clerk’s office, with the name of the book *[or]*, volume or other manner of recording and the page of record in the following form:

______________________________________________________________________ Book Grantor Page Book Grantee Page to from Grantee Grantor 1 A. to B. 1 1 B. from A. 1 _______________________________________________________________________ If the instrument is executed on behalf of, or to convey the interest of another party, the same shall be indexed in the name of the other party as grantor. In case the instrument is executed by more than one grantor and to more than one grantee, the name of each grantor and each grantee shall be indexed. When the party is a natural person the nameshall be indexed under the first letter of such person's surname, and when the party is a corporation the name shall be indexed under the first letter of the first word of its name disregarding articles and initials. For purposes of this section, a defendant against whose property a writ of attachment is filed or a person against whose property a lien is asserted, shall be considered a grantor, and a plaintiff filing a writ, or a person asserting a lien shall be considered a grantee. Land plats filed in the office shall be indexed in such manner as the public records director shall by rule prescribe.

(b) "Transactions affecting title to real estate" shall include the instruments described in subdivisions 1154(a)(1) through (3) of this title. Each owner of record title to the property at the time such an instrument is issued shall be listed as the grantor. The state of Vermont shall be listed as the grantee for instruments described in subdivisions 1154(a)(1) and (2) of this title. The municipality issuing the instrument shall be listed as the grantee for instruments described in subdivision 1154(a)(3) of this title.

Sec. 3. 24 V.S.A. § 4443 is amended to read:

§ 4443. ZONING PERMITS AND CERTIFICATES OF OCCUPANCY

(a) Within any municipality in which any zoning regulations have been adopted:

(1) No land development may be commenced within the area affected by such zoning regulations without a permit therefor issued by the administrative officer. No zoning permit may be issued by the administrative officer except in conformance with such zoning regulations.

(2) If the zoning regulations so adopted so provide, it shall be unlawful to use oroccupy or permit the use or occupancy of any land or structure, or part thereof created, erected, changed, converted, or wholly or partly altered or enlarged in its use or structure after the effective date of this chapter, within the area affected by such zoning regulations, until a certificate of occupancy is issued therefor by the administrative officer stating that the proposed use of the structure or land conforms to the requirements of such zoning regulations.

(3) No zoning permit issued pursuant to this section shall take effect until the time for appeal in section 4464(a) of this title has passed, or in the event that a notice of appeal is properly filed, such permit shall not take effect until final adjudication of said appeal.

(b) Each zoning permit issued under this section shall contain a statement of the period of time within which an appeal may be taken. Within three days following the issuance of a zoning permit, the administrative officer shall:

(1) Deliver a copy of the permit to the listers of the municipality; and

(2) Post a copy of the permit in at least one public place in the municipality until the expiration of fifteen days from the date of issuance of the permit.

(c) Within a reasonable time after the issuance of any zoning, planning, subdivision, site plan, health, street, building or other municipal permit or certificate of occupancy, certificate of compliance or similar certificate or any notice of violation, the appropriate municipal official shall deliver a copy of the permit, certificate or notice or a notice of recording as provided in subsection 1154(a) of this title to the town clerk for recording in the land records. The municipal officer may charge the applicant for the cost of recordingany permit, certificate or notice of recording.

*[(c)]*(d) If a public notice is issued under this chapter with respect to the adoption or amendment of a bylaw, or an amendment to an ordinance adopted under prior enabling laws, the administrative officer shall not issue any permit under section (a)(1) of this section, if the permit is with regard to the bylaw, or amendment to a bylaw or ordinance, for the period commencing upon the date of that public notice and ending upon the effective date of the adoption or rejection of the bylaw or amendment, except with the written consent of the legislative body of the municipality given after public hearing upon public notice.

Sec. 4. 24 V.S.A. § 4496 is added to read:

§ 4496. ENFORCEMENT; LIMITATIONS

(a) An action, injunction or other enforcement proceeding may be instituted under section 4444 or 4445 of this title or under subsection 1974(a) of this title against the current owner or occupant, or both, of any street, building, structure or land for any violation if:

(1) the current owner or occupant is the person who first created the violation;

(2) the action, injunction or other enforcement proceeding is instituted in connection with a notice of violation properly recorded and indexed in the land records of the town prior to the time the owner acquired title to or the occupant began occupancy of the street, building, structure or land;

(3) the action, injunction or other enforcement proceeding is instituted within sixyears from the date the alleged violation first occurred; or

(4) the action, injunction or other enforcement proceeding is instituted to abate or remove a hazard to the public health or safety.

(b) Nothing in this section shall prevent any action, injunction or other enforcement proceeding against the person who first created the violation, whether or not the person is the current owner or occupant.

Sec. 5. 27 V.S.A. § 612 is added to read:

§ 612. MUNICIPAL PERMITS

For land development as defined in 24 V.S.A. § 4303(3), the failure to:

(1) obtain any necessary zoning, planning, subdivision, site plan, health, street, building or other municipal permit;

(2) obtain any necessary certificate of occupancy, certificate of compliance or similar certificate; or

(3) record such a permit or certificate;

shall not be an encumbrance on the real estate so developed if the land development began prior to September 1, 1997 or the municipality is limited from instituting an action, injunction or other enforcement proceeding pursuant to 24 V.S.A. § 4496.

Sec. 6. EFFECTIVE DATE

This act shall take effect upon passage.