Daniel's Law and its Possible Impact for NJ Real Estate Transfer (Blog)
The objectives of Daniel’s Law are to be lauded, but the law as written will have unintended consequences for real estate transactions. Its primary goal can be achieved with a SMART amendment.
Daniel's Law” was passed by the New Jersey legislature and signed into law by Governor Murphy late in 2020. As stated in the NJ law Journal, Daniel's Law prohibits the disclosure on the internet of the home addresses of current or retired federal, state and municipal judicial officers, prosecutors, law enforcement officers, their spouses and their children.The legislation was passed and its impact was designed to be immediate. The catalyst was the targeting of a judge at her home which led to the horrific killing of her son, and injury to her husband. In its wake, understandably, our legislature and the Governor wanted to do something –to help prevent similar acts of retaliation in the future.
Overwhelmingly, the spirit of the legislation was applauded and should be, especially given what led to its enactment. Its overall goal of safeguarding such information of the “protected class” is completely understandable. However, the intricacies involved in how to actually manage this is a challenge for the government entities who are the custodians of such data. Some areas that need increased focus include identifying the "protected class" and ensuring that those who have a legitimate business need, such as the transfer or real property, can still gain access to necessary records.
Earlier this year, an amendment was passed and signed into law that will postpone the implementation of certain parts of Daniel’s Law until December 10, 2021. This has given the government entities, and private industry a chance to regroup and work with the legislation as written or to seek amendments to providing clarity or improvements. Both the NJLTA Legislative Committee and Charles Jones LLC are actively working together in an effort to favorably influence the final outcome. The common goal is to achieve safeguards for the “protected class” while allowing for access to public land records by land title professionals for uninterrupted real property transactions.
This is a high-profile issue. Can we protect these valuable and sometimes at-risk public servants? Can we do so without disrupting the transparency of the public land record system??
I think the answer is yes and that this can be done by tweaking the existing law. We welcome you to share your thoughts on this important legislation.
Additional information can be found at: