An Owner Affidavit is a document used by title and closing agencies to ensure that the current owner of a property is in ownership of the property free and clear of any encumbrances.

But isn’t that why we do a title search?

Absolutely, but a title search can only show encumbrances like judgments, tax liens, mortgages, right-of-way’s, and easements that are on the public record.

From time to time, an owner of a property may make an agreement that gives a third party a right to the real estate, but that agreement isn’t recorded on the public record.

By having the owner sign an Owner Affidavit, the owner is assuming all responsibility for certain encumbrances on the property that are not covered in the title insurance policy.

The Owner Affidavit is an extra layer of protection for the buyer of the property.

The Owner Affidavit places the seller on the hook for any claims that may arise that are not covered by the title insurance policy.

It is Walnut Ridge Title’s policy to have all sellers sign an Owner Affidavit to ensure that the buyer has as much protection as possible against potential claims.

The title insurance policy, in combination with an Owner Affidavit, provides peace of mind when buying real estate.

The following is an example of an Owner Affidavit:

The Affiant (s), John and Jane Smith, married, being first duly sworn, deposes and makes the following statements concerning the property located at 123 State Route 456, Anytown, Ohio 98765. See Exhibit “A” for full legal description:

  1. Affiant is the owner, builder, general contractor, or executor/executrix.
  2. No other person has possession or any right to possession of the above-described property.
  3. Affiant has no knowledge of:

any unrecorded easement or claim of easement;

the bankruptcy of any owner;

any contract, option or right to purchase other than that in the transaction for which this affidavit is given.

  1. Any labor or material for repair or improvement has been paid for in full, and there is no claim outstanding for labor or material.
  2. Except as indicated on the current tax duplicate, there are no unpaid real estate taxes or assessments; Affiant has no knowledge of any pending or proposed assessment, application for addition or abatement of tax, or improvement or service to which taxes could be assessed.
  3. There are no outstanding mortgages/issues of credit or other liens (such as judgment liens, state or federal tax liens, etc.) against the property or any owner except as may be detailed herein.

This affidavit is given to induce the title and closing agent and its under-writer to disburse any funds held as a settlement agent and/or to issue a title insurance policy or other title evidence. Affiant hereby indemnifies the title and closing agent and its underwriter against any loss or expense, including attorney fees, sustained as a result of any of the foregoing matters not being true and accurate.

Contact Walnut Ridge Title for any additional questions you may have.

 

Christopher M. White

Managing Partner