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.
In 2018 and 2019 RELANC 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.
In 2021, RELANC continues to be concerned about the impact of COVID on the practice of real estate law in North Carolina. E-Notary services, RON and RIN will continue to be a focus of our lobbyist Jim Harrell’s efforts in the NC General Assembly, while we will continue to support members’ efforts to keep clients and staff healthy using safety measures such as our sample COVID-19 protocol, posted on our web site. We also continue to actively monitor, research, document, and report situations of the Unauthorized Practice of Law (UPL), as they are brought to our attention.
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. 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.
In addition, RELANC takes up a number of smaller issues annually that have a proportionally greater impact on our membership. Elsewhere on our web site you will find lists of recent legislative matters with which RELANC has concerned itself.
RELANC’s over 500 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 $250 per year. Additional attorneys from within the same firm may join for $125. 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.