Michigan Marketable Record Title Act: What to know about the recent 2020 amendment

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Interests held in real property are often extremely valuable to the interest holders and can affect the character and uses of the land in which they are held. The validity and enforceability of such property interests in Michigan are governed by the Marketable Record Title Act.

On Dec. 29, Michigan effectively amended the Marketable Record Title Act and, in so doing, provided property interest holders in this state additional time to protect their interests before they are voided at the end of certain statutory periods.

How the amendment impacts property interest holders

Before the 2020 amendment, the Marketable Record Title Act generally provided that interests in real property were only valid against subsequent purchasers if they were based upon some act, transaction, event or omission that occurred within a 20-year period for mineral interests or a 40-year period for other interests. However, the act also stated that holders of older interests, which may have otherwise been extinguished under these statutory time frames, could still protect their property interests by recording the interest by no later than March 29, 2021.

With the March 29, 2021, deadline for protecting older property interests fast approaching, Michigan passed an amendment to the Marketable Record Title Act to extend the deadline another three years, until March 29, 2024. This amendment provides a critical window during which property interest holders who have not already done so may take the necessary steps to ensure that their property interests are not voided.

Property interests affected by the amendment are wide-ranging and include interests such as restrictive covenants and easements, which affect how a property may be used and by whom. Such interests are valuable to individuals and communities alike, and the loss of such property interests may drastically affect the use and character of real property. Therefore, it is important for those holding property interests created before the 20- or 40-year time frames to carefully review the amendment to the Marketable Record Title Act and take action to protect those property interests before its new deadline.

Conclusion

Michigan’s recent amendment to the Marketable Record Title Act provides property interest holders with an additional window during which to protect their interests. Property interests can significantly affect the value and desirability of real estate and taking the proper steps to preserve those interests is essential to avoid losing them over time.

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