Endorsements, which add or modify the coverage provided by a title policy, have become more uniform over the years, being sanctioned by the American Land Title Association. Endorsements that were once created and filed locally in Michigan have given way to nationally standardized language. As such, they are periodically reviewed and occasionally revised by the ALTA forms committee. While such revisions may often be minor language adjustments, every so often more dramatic changes in the coverage are approved by the ALTA and promulgated nationally.
A prime example of this is the recent revisions of the ALTA 9 Endorsement, once identified as the Restrictions, Encroachments, Minerals (“R.E.M.” or “Comprehensive”) Endorsement. This Endorsement was first used in the 1980’s to bundle affirmative coverages, which most lenders routinely requested in connection with matters shown on Schedule B of the Loan Policy or were not covered by that policy. It insured the holder of the indebtedness (the lender) against loss or damage resulting from a number of potential adverse matters.
Those matters included possible violations of covenants, conditions and restrictions (CC&Rs), encroachments of the improvements onto adjoining land or into easements on the land, and damage to existing improvements as a result of the exercise of mineral rights for extraction or development. Similar, although more limited coverage of this sort was later provided with Owner’s Policies – the ALTA 9.1 for improved land and the ALTA 9.2 for unimproved land.
The ALTA forms committee has carved up and created several variations of the former ALTA 9, resulting in a virtual menu of ALTA 9 Endorsements, including variations when the property is under development or has existing improvements. The issue of enforceable “Private Rights” is another issue that may be afforded coverage for a Loan Policy. And, the new ALTA 9.1 and 9.2 Endorsements now only provide CC&R coverage. There are separate endorsements created to deal with coverage for encroachments and the exercise of mineral rights. Through this all, the basic ALTA 9 for Loan Policies is still intact. But, it becomes rather clear that the endorsement landscape is a continually changing one. Check with your experienced commercial title professional at BHT Commercial, if you have any endorsement or title coverage questions.