Ensuring Buyers Obtain Property Deeds


Land sale contracts, also known as installment purchase contracts or installment sale agreements, are direct agreements between a buyer and seller, which set the terms for paying off the amount owed on a property over a set amount of time. In land sale contracts, the seller keeps the deed until the buyer pays off the debt of the property. Once a contract is fulfilled and the full financial obligation met, the seller is to transfer the deed of the property to the buyer.


CFM’s client, the Oregon Land Title Association, continued to find that every so often in land sale contracts deeds would fail to be transferred after the contract was fulfilled. When this occurs, the only recourse for the buyer to obtain the deed is to sue the seller. The Oregon Land Title Association wanted to help buyers have a different, less expensive option to claim the deed.


The proposal put forward in HB 2855 was modeled aftr the pre-existing non-judicial process for forfeiture. Forfeiture occurs when the buyer is unable to pay off the seller or the bank. The legislation set up a path for claiming ownership and legally transferring the deed without going through the courts.

The procedure for transferring the deed, established in HB 2855, required contacting the seller, submitting public notice, and recording an affidavit of fulfillment. Since this change in law was technical in nature and addressed an issue most do not encounter, lots of education was required. CFM had numerous meetings, distributed one-pagers, floor letters and presented in-person testimony to ensure legislators understood the proposed procedure.


After educating legislators on this technical issue and ensuring there were no conflicts for other impacted parties and stakeholders, CFM, on behalf of the OLTA, was able to convince the legislature to pass the bill unanimously.