Authorizing the Use of Online Remote Notaries in Florida
Many parts of a real estate transaction, including the mortgage application process, have begun to move online. It’s less expensive, quicker and more efficient for consumers and lenders — similar to many other consumer purchases.
Notarizing a document, however, has remained essentially unchanged for generations — notaries are unable to notarize a signature if the person executing the document is not in the notary’s physical presence at the time of signature. In a state like Florida, where we have a robust real estate market, the current notary process may slow transactions and make the process more expensive.
Notary process modernized by HB 409
The bill allows a Florida notary public to perform an online notarization regardless of the physical location of the principal, provided the notary is physically located in Florida while performing the notarization. Witnesses may be physically present with the principal or by means of audio-video communication technology.
Notaries must take certain steps to ensure the security of the notarization, including the use of audio-video technology to verify the identity of the principal. Additionally, the entire audio-visual conference session must be recorded.
Other security protocols include identity proofing and credential analysis. Notaries are also required to keep a secure electronic journal of the records that were notarized.
New business technologies continue to emerge, and legislation authorizing the use of remote online notaries allows Florida notaries, Realtors, and title agents to remain an integral part of tomorrow’s real estate transaction — serving clients and customers better, faster and less expensively.
The bill was signed into law on June 7, 2019.