On Friday, September 23, 2011, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo signed into law Senate Bill 2373A and Assembly Bill 6870A. The bill authorizes the electronic recording (“e-recording”) of instruments affecting real property in the form of digitized images of original, executed paper instruments and of electronically executed instruments.
Modeled on the federal Uniform Electronic Transactions Act and following in the footsteps of NYSCEF which permits the filing and service of legal papers by electronic means with certain county clerks and with courts in certain types of cases, the new law, encapsulated in Real Property Section 291-i (“Validity of electronic recording”), “seeks to achieve similar efficiencies in the realm of real property conveyances by enabling county governments to modernize the manner in which real estate professional[s] and recording officers conduct their business together.”
Prior to the bills’ signing, the State’s Electronic Signatures and Records Act (“ESRA”), Article III of Chapter 57-A of the New York State Technology Law, already allowed instruments signed electronically to be received, accepted, recorded and stored by government entities in an electronic format. ESRA clarified that “signatures” made via electronic means are just as binding as hand-written signatures and that electronic records have the same legal force as those produced in other formats such as paper and microfilm.
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