Efforts to quarantine the novel coronavirus pandemic have created several obstacles to real estate closings in New York City, especially as regards in-person notarizations. As more business transactions are conducted remotely and social distancing orders remain in place, many states have passed legislation to permit remote online notarizations.
On December 22, 2021, Governor Kathy Hochul signed Senate Bill 1780C. The bill allows for notarization to be completed electronically with the use of video and audio conference technology in the state of New York. The law is to be effective on June 20, 2022. While the Secretary of State is required to provide regulations setting the standards for remote online notarizations, there are a few regulations identified in the bill that are worth highlighting.
Under the bill, notaries will be permitted to conduct electronic notarizations using an electronic device that “allows a notary public and a remotely located individual to communicate with each other simultaneously by sight and sound.”* However, notaries are required to register with the Secretary of State in order to notarize electronically .
Further, the bill notes that the methods for identifying document signers for an electronic notarization will be the same as are required for in-person notarization.** Nevertheless, the following regulations are to be followed when conducting electronic notarizations:
1. The signal transmission shall be secured from interception;
2. The signal transmission shall be live, in real time; and
3. The technology shall permit the notary to communicate and identify the signer.
For example, the notary may verify the signer’s identity through authentication methods such as a credential analysis of the signer’s identification card or utilize a third-party identity verification system.
Further, notaries will be allowed to use an electronic signature to sign documents, but the notary must be located in the state of New York at the time of transaction. Additionally, notaries will be required to keep a recording of the video and audio conference for a period of at least ten (10) years from the date of transaction, along with the type of identification shown to the notary at the time of the transaction.
Due to the uncertainty of how remote online notarizations will be regulated in New York, notaries and document signers are encouraged to utilize in-person notarizations until these regulations are released by the Secretary of State.
*Senate Bill §1780C