Executive Committee Retreat
The Real Property Executive Committee gathered for its annual planning retreat and monthly committee meeting in August. This year the Committee is led by Chair: Hilary Fentress, Chair-Elect: Amanda Calloway and Secretary/Treasurer: Stuart Gordan, who are assisted by Immediate Past Chair: Kent Altom. The Committee set an ambitious agenda of items to work on throughout the year.
Executive Committee members discussing this year’s agenda.
Did you know that any member of the Section can join a sub-committee? The Executive Committee has several subcommittees, each with a different purpose and agenda for the year. Below are the current subcommittees, along with a description of their main purpose and current leadership. It’s a great way to keep apprised of issues facing our Bar. Please contact the Chair(s) of any subcommittee if interested in donating your time and talent to the Section.
Bylaws – Chair: Amanda Calloway
This Committee reviews and updates the Real Property Law Section bylaws as needed.
Legislative – Co-Chairs: Rob Brannen, Amy Huskins and Mark Robinson
This Committee is charged with monitoring pending state legislation that might affect the practice of real estate law. They work closely with the State Bar’s legislative counsel, Christine Butcher Hayes, to identify pending legislation that the State Bar may need to take a position on and participates, when permitted under the Keller rule, in the State Bar’s lobbying efforts. Current efforts are following the Remote Online Notary Bill, a bill to correct ambiguities in the notary attestation statute and a bill modifying the Lis Pendens statute, but may include additional items once the session for this year starts.
Real Property Law Seminar – Chair: Amanda Calloway
Assist in co-planning the Real Property Institute held in May, including planning the location, topics, social events and obtaining speakers.
Title Standards – Chair: Allie Jett
This Committee has two functions: putting on the annual Title Standards CLE and updated/maintaining the written Title Standards.
Commercial Real Estate: Co-Chairs: Kyle Levstek and Paula Rothenberger
This Committee focuses primarily on issues involving commercial practitioners and is tasked with planning the annual Commercial Real Estate Seminar currently scheduled for November 17, 2022.
Communication – Chair: Tenise Chung
This Committee gathers content and produces communications to the section membership regarding both the Executive Committee’s activities and issues that affect the practice of real estate. Additionally, this committee updates the section website and maintains the listserv.
Ethics and Professionalism – Chair: Kyle Williams
This Committee has a broad focus on ethics and professionalism issues affecting real estate practitioners. They also monitor potential issues involving the unauthorized practice of law and work with the State Bar to obtain Formal Advisory Opinions from the Supreme Court when appropriate.
Litigation – Chair: Larry Evans
This Committee follows and reports on pending and final litigation decisions of interest to our Section.
Pro Bono – Co-Chairs: Cate Hoskins and Beth Jones
This Committee coordinates responses to requests for assistance on real estate matters in the local community and plans pro-bono activities and opportunities for the Section.
Recognition – Chair: Thua Barlay
This Committee promotes the growth of section membership and recognition of outstanding current and future members. In addition to collecting nominees for the annual Pindar Award, this Committee solicits applicants and awards scholarships to deserving law students in our local law schools who show an aptitude and commitment to practicing real estate in Georgia upon graduation.
Residential Real Estate – Co-Chairs: Kelsea Laun and Matthew Totten
In addition to its involvement with other Section activities and acting as a liaison with other real estate groups, this committee is charged with planning the annual Residential Real Estate Seminar currently scheduled for February 9, 2023. They are currently seeking speakers on the following topics: Ethics and Escrow Accounting, Bankruptcy Basics and Emerging Issues, The Potential Future of RON in Georgia and the Secure Notarization Act, Title Insurance 101 (Panel), Fraud: Trends, Red Flags and Tips for Prevention, Trends in a Downturn Market (Panel) and Title Curative Actions.
Call to Action
We are always looking for new speakers or topics of interest from our members. Please reach out to any of our Executive Committee leaders or members to nominate yourself or others to speak at a future CLE or to suggest a topic relevant to our Section. We are also accepting articles or items of interest from our membership throughout the year.
Upcoming CLE Opportunities
November 4 – Title Standards at State Bar Center
November 17 – Commercial Real Estate Seminar at State Bar Center
Date TBA – Real Property Foreclosure Seminar at State Bar Center
Recent Real Property Law Decisions of Note:
Wealthmore Properties, LLC v. Cheeto Holdings, LLC, 364 Ga. App. 151, 874 S.E.2d 199 (2022)– Involved a dispute over an attorney’s authority to resolve a matter arising from a tax sale. The owner took steps to bar the right to redeem from the tax sale, and then 4 years later, again took steps, via counsel, to bar the right which included a renewed offer to redeem, which was accepted. The owner argued that the attorney’s scope was limited and he acted outside his authority to accept a tender of the redemption amount, which the Court rejected in this instance.
U.S Bank, National Association as Trustee of the Cabana Series IV Trust v. Carrington Mortgage Services, LLC, 364 Ga. App. 179, 874 S.E. 2d 372 (2022)– Involves what the appropriate remedy is in an action seeking to correct lien priority. Court held that although the evidence was sufficient and the action sounded in equity, reformation not the proper remedy because there was nothing on the form of the conveyances that required reformation. Instead, mistake was closing agent’s failure to follow instructions.
McCloud- Pue v. Atlanta Beltline, Inc., ___Ga. App._______, 874 S.E. 2d 482, No. A22A0414 (2022)– Involved whether state claim for adverse possession was pre-empted by federal law over a railroad tract. The Court held that under the Federal pre-emption doctrine, the time period for adverse possession prescription could not run against railway land while it was held under the jurisdiction of the Surface Transportation Board.
Xu v. Yonnone, ___Ga. App._______, 875 S.E. 2d. 368, No. A22A0418 (2022)– This was a case between adjoining homeowners in a subdivision and a dispute over a retaining wall between the lots. Court held wall was a “party wall” under the plain terms of the declaration of covenants and that evidence that defendants refused to participate in arbitration, as required in the declaration of covenants, supported award of attorney fees.
BC EAV, LLC v. Havlik, ___Ga. App._______, _____S.E. 2d. ____, No. A22A1111, 2022 WL 3365220 (2022)– This is another adverse possession case and involved, in particular, the good faith requirement. The Court held that knowledge of a potential boundary line discrepancy when you take title, absent evidence of actual notice of forgery or fraud, is immaterial to whether the claim is a good faith claim. The Court also held that knowledge acquired after one took possession is irrelevant to the question of fraud because it has to be known when he commenced possession. Lastly, failure to pay taxes does not establish, by itself, an absence of good faith.