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Public Trustee Other Duties
38-35-106. Deeds – acknowledgement, absent, or defective – notice – deemed proper, when.
(1) Any written instrument required or permitted to be acknowledged affecting title to real property, whether acknowledged, unacknowledged, or defectively acknowledged, after being recorded in the office of the county clerk and recorder of the county where the real property is situate, shall be notice to all persons or classes of persons claiming any interest in said property.
(2) Any unacknowledged or defectively acknowledged instrument which has remained of record for a period of ten years in such office shall be deemed to have been properly acknowledged. This section shall apply to all recorded instruments.
(3) A document required or permitted to be acknowledged affecting title to real property that is signed in a person’s official capacity by a public trustee, county treasurer, county sheriff, or a deputy of such an official acting for that official that contains the seal of such an official shall be deemed to have been properly acknowledged.
38-35-126. Contract for deed – escrow of tax moneys – written notice.
(1) (a) Parties entering into a contract for deed to real property shall designate the public trustee of the county where the real property is located to act as escrow agent for moneys paid or to be paid by the purchaser to meet the property tax obligations on the real property, including the seller’s credit at closing for the current year’s property taxes and periodic property tax payments, which the contract shall provide will be made monthly by the purchaser to the public trustee. The purchaser shall be responsible for payment to the public trustee of the escrow fee pursuant to section 38-37-104 (1) (d). Once each year during the month of April, upon notice from the county treasurer, the public trustee shall, to the extent funds are on deposit in the escrow account, transfer sufficient funds from the escrow account to the county treasurer for payment of property taxes on the real property for the prior taxable year. The public trustee shall continue as escrow agent for tax moneys collected on the real property until the deed to the real property is delivered to the purchaser and recorded. At the time of delivery, the public trustee shall release to the purchaser any moneys remaining in the escrow account and the receipts for all property taxes paid on the property by the public trustee. If the public trustee determines that the escrow is no longer necessary, the public trustee may terminate the escrow account. The public trustee shall notify the county treasurer of the termination and shall transfer any moneys held in escrow to the county treasurer for payment of property taxes in accordance with section 39-10-104.5, C.R.S. Any amount so transferred by the public trustee shall be subtracted from the amount of property tax payable on the real property at the time annual property taxes for the current or subsequent taxable years are due. Upon termination of the escrow account, any amount not accepted by the county treasurer upon transfer shall be returned by the public trustee to the person holding title to the real property that is the subject of the contract for deed to real property.
(b) For the purposes of this section, a “contract for deed to real property” means a contract for the sale of real property which provides that the purchaser shall assume possession of the real property and the rights and responsibilities of ownership of the real property but that the deed to such real property will not be delivered to the purchaser for at least one hundred eighty days following the latest execution date on the contract for deed to real property and not until the purchaser has met certain conditions such as payment of the full contract price or a specified portion thereof. “Contract for deed to real property” includes installment land contracts.
(c) The public trustee shall deposit tax moneys received pursuant to the provisions of paragraph (a) of this subsection (1) in an escrow account opened for such purpose in one or more financial institutions which are in compliance with and qualified and defined in article 10.5 of title 11, C.R.S. Moneys from more than one transaction may be commingled in one account, to be accounted for separately. If the escrow account opened by the public trustee under the provisions of this subsection (1) bears interest, such interest shall be retained by the public trustee to defray expenses arising from the administration of such escrow account.
(d) A public trustee may designate an alternate to act as escrow agent on any contract for deed to real property in which the public trustee is designated as escrow agent pursuant to the provisions of this section; except that such alternate shall not be a party to the contract for deed to real property. Such designation shall be made by sending written notification of such designation to the parties to such contract and to the county treasurer. Such notice shall include the name and legal address of the designated alternate and the date such designated alternate shall assume the duties of escrow agent. Such designated alternate shall have all of the duties and powers of the public trustee to act as escrow agent on a contract for deed to real property as stated in this section. In the event that the public trustee designates an alternate to serve as escrow agent, the purchaser shall pay to the designated alternate the escrow fee as stated in paragraph (a) of this subsection (1).
(2) Within ninety days of executing and delivering a contract for deed to real property, the seller shall file with the county treasurer of the county wherein the real property is located a written notice of transfer by contract for deed to real property. Such notice shall not operate to convey title. Such notice shall include the name and legal address of the seller, the name and legal address of the purchaser, a legal description of the real property, the date upon which the contract for deed to real property was executed and delivered, and the date or conditions upon which the deed to the real property will be delivered to the purchaser, absent default. In addition, within ninety days of executing and delivering the contract for deed to real property, the seller shall file a real estate transfer declaration with the county assessor of the county wherein the property is located, pursuant to the provisions of section 39-14-102, C.R.S.
(3) The buyer shall have the option of voiding any contract for deed to real property which fails to designate the public trustee as escrow agent for deposit of property tax moneys or for which no written notice is filed with the county treasurer’s office or the county assessor’s office. Upon voidance of such contract, the buyer shall be entitled to the return of all payments made on the contract, with statutory interest as defined in section 5-12-102, C.R.S., and reasonable attorney fees and costs. This avoidance right shall expire on the date seven years after the latest execution date on the contract for deed to real property unless exercised prior to such date.
(4) The provisions of subsections (1) and (3) of this section shall not apply to the parties to a contract for deed to real property so long as the seller complies with the requirements of subsection (2) of this section, so long as the real property which is the subject of such contract for deed to real property is not subdivided into parcels which are smaller than one acre, and so long as the seller pays the annual property tax obligations on the real property which is the subject of such contract for deed to real property or submits a bond or an irrevocable letter of credit in the amount of the taxes due on such real property to the county treasurer, either of which shall be immediately payable to such county treasurer upon default. Payment of such property taxes or submittal of such bond or irrevocable letter of credit shall be made within thirty days of mailing of the notice of taxes due from the county treasurer and prior to seeking reimbursement from the purchaser.
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