During the COVID-19 pandemic, real estate professionals have struggled to get documents notarized while respecting social distancing requirements. The Revised Uniform Law on Notarial Acts (RULONA), after all, requires an individual making a statement or executing a document to “appear personally” before the notarial officer. Recent direction issued by the Department of State which can be found here, however, indicates that the physical presence requirement in RULONA will be relaxed on a temporary basis for certain types of real estate transactions.

For personal residential real estate transactions, the temporary suspension applies only to deals that were already in process before the disaster declaration. In the case of commercial real estate, the suspension applies both to transactions in process as well as to new transactions commenced during the emergency period.

In either the residential or commercial context, notaries who are using audio-visual technology as an alternative to personal appearance must:

  1. Become an approved Pennsylvania electronic notary by completing this free application; and
  2. Use an e-notary solution approved by the Department that offers remote notarization technology (approved solutions include Doc-Verify, Safe-Docs and Pasavo); and
  3. Indicate in the notary certificate that the notarial act was performed by means of communication technology.

Please feel free to contact any member of the McNees Wallace & Nurick Real Estate Group if you need assistance with a real estate transaction or have any questions regarding this post.