What is RELANC?
RELANC is a 501 (C) 6 nonprofit organization comprised of real estate closing attorneys, short sale and REO attorneys, title counselors, and litigators. Members come from all over the state of North Carolina to share a common vision focused on defending, developing and defining ethical and viable real estate business practices. RELANC is first and foremost committed to defending consumers who purchase real property in North Carolina. This advocacy focus is what differentiates RELANC from the other outstanding trade associations in North Carolina; we answer only to our members and our clients, the property-owning and -buying public.
Our focus includes research, educational activities, and promotional and advertising campaigns to combat, prevent, and seek compensation from persons or entities which engage in practices harmful to North Carolina property owners. Additionally, RELANC provides continuing legal education and up to date information regarding relevant, immediate changes to the industry and its practitioners, through its co-sponsorship of the NC Closing Attorney Best Practices Task Force Boot Camp Webinar Series as well as other webinars designed to educate real estate attorneys and colleagues. One such recent example was the October 2017 webinar entitled Contract to Closing: Protecting Your Clients and their Money from Cyber Fraud, to which members, friends, and colleagues were invited across the spectrum of those serving the real estate consumer: bankers, real estate attorneys, paralegals and others participated in large numbers.
In 2017 RELANC has focused largely on collaborative efforts to advance our industry’s knowledge base. RELANC has found itself on the leading edge of many new and developing initiatives, and has been asked to place experienced members on a variety of task forces. RELANC members actively participate in the Land Records Task Force, the NCBA Real Property Section Council, and the Secretary of State’s North Carolina E-Mortgage Closing Advisory Committee. In this capacity, RELANC Chairman Chris Salyer addressed an audience consisting of lenders, bankers, GSE’s, and technology companies. Those present were from all over the country and he was given the opportunity to address this impressive audience as a real estate lawyer ON BEHALF of real estate lawyers. RELANC’s name and logo is now scattered throughout the country. We also have members on the drafting committee to help draft, comment and edit the Secretary of State’s Best Practices Manual for E-Closings
What is the Urgency?
RELANC was established in part to seek authoritative guidance for real estate professionals across the state as to whether handling a real estate closing involves the practice of law and the exercise of legal judgment requiring licensure by the State Bar to perform such services on behalf of third-party consumers. This also anticipates potential entry into the North Carolina market by vendors of online forms, such as Legal Zoom.com, Inc It is our firm position based on existing law and decades of practice that all aspects of a real estate closing in the State of North Carolina must be performed or supervised by a licensed North Carolina attorney. In recent history, there has been significant confusion about who or what sorts of entities may manage a closing involving real property located in North Carolina. This has led to numerous instances of Unauthorized Practice of Law (UPL). Often, when illegal UPL is discovered in this context, it is because the person or entity engaging in UPL has done something wrong or their actions have caused damage to a consumer who seeks legal advice and counsel about their real estate transaction.
The passage of House Bill 436 does not remove or diminish or the need to be vigilant in protecting the interests of your client home buyers and real estate owners. In fact, because the legislators involved in the bill’s passage cited their intent to continue to follow the issue, even more attention is needed.
In addition, RELANC takes up a number of smaller issues annually that have a proportionally greater impact on our membership. RELANC Members were involved in the drafting of Senate Bill 19 (Session Law 2016-86) Uniform Fee For Recording Deeds Of Trust as well as Senate Bill 575 (Session Law 2016-23) which dealt with the NC – SC boundary. Our members have published articles on such varied topics as renewable energy and solar farms, which were key to last session’s Senate Bill 843. Elsewhere on our web site you will find lists of recent legislative matters with which RELANC has concerned itself.
RELANC’s over 400 members include attorneys from across North Carolina, as well as from numerous independently owned title agencies, North Carolina based and national title underwriters. Many of these individual members serve on committees, task forces, and on the board of directors. Without their membership and active participation, RELANC’s work would not be possible.
How YOU Can Help
Advocacy, especially good advocacy, costs money. RELANC is active at all levels of policy-making as it affects our consumer-clients and the manner in which their interests in real estate are transacted and handled. Now, more than ever, RELANC needs your support, experience and dedication.
Membership in RELANC is $200 per year. Additional attorneys from within the same firm may join for $100. Dues payments may be made online, in person at an event, or via check payable to RELANC and sent to 4711 Hope Valley Rd #4F-132, Durham, NC 27707. Printable membership forms are available here.