House Bill No. 506
Introduced By _______________________________________________________________________________
A Bill for an Act entitled: "An Act establishing a process for the acknowledgment of water right transfers in real property transfer transactions; amending sections 15-7-305, 15-7-308, and 85-2-424; and providing a delayed effective date and an applicability date."
Be it enacted by the Legislature of the State of Montana:
Section 1. Section 15-7-305, MCA, is amended to read:
"15-7-305. Realty transfer certificate required. (1) The county clerk and recorder shall
cause to be executed by require
the parties to the transaction or their agents or representatives to complete a certificate declaring the consideration paid or to
be paid for the real estate transferred.
No An instrument or deed evidencing a transfer of real estate may not be accepted for recordation until the certificate
has been received by the county clerk and recorder. The validity or effectiveness of an instrument or deed as between the
parties to it shall is not be affected by the failure to comply with the provisions in this part.
The Except as provided in 85-2-423, the form of certificate shall must be prescribed by the department of revenue, and
the department shall provide an adequate supply of such forms to each county clerk and recorder in the state. The
department shall coordinate with the department of natural resources and conservation and the water court to develop and
provide the forms required under 85-2-423 and this part.
(4) The clerk and recorder shall prepare a
like certificate for each contract for deed filed for recording.
(5) The clerk and recorder shall transmit each executed certificate to the department."
Section 2. Section 15-7-308, MCA, is amended to read:
"15-7-308. Disclosure of information restricted -- water right transfer certificate exception. (1)
The Except as
provided in subsection (2), the certificate required by this part and the information contained in the certificate is not a
public record and must be held confidential by the county clerk and recorder and the department. This is because the
legislature finds that the demands of individual privacy outweigh the merits of public disclosure. The confidentiality
provisions do not apply to compilations from the certificates or to summaries, analyses, and evaluations based upon the
(2) The confidentiality provisions of this section do not apply to the information in the clerk and recorder's abbreviated copy of the realty transfer certificate or to the information contained in the water right transfer certificate prepared and filed with the department of natural resources and conservation pursuant to 85-2-424 for purposes of maintaining a system of centralized water right records as mandated by Article IX, section 3(4), of the Montana constitution. A person may access water right transfer information through the department of natural resources and conservation pursuant to the department's implementation of the requirements of 85-2-112(3)."
Section 3. Section 85-2-424, MCA, is amended to read:
"85-2-424. Filing. (1) The transferor of a water right
or his agent or representative shall file with the department a water
right transfer certificate within 60 days of recording a deed or other instrument evidencing a transfer of real property.
(2) Except in the case of a transfer of real property served by a public service water supply, when any person presents for
recording a deed or other instrument evidencing a transfer of real property, the realty transfer certificate shall
or not the transfer includes a transfer of water rights contain a water rights disclosure whereby the transferor shall
acknowledge, at or before closing, whether or not any water rights are associated with the property to be transferred and
whether or not any water rights will transfer with the real property. If the realty transfer certificate notes discloses a transfer
of water rights, the clerk and recorder shall provide such person the form prescribed under 85-2-423 for the transfer of
water rights a water right transfer certificate must be completed and filed with the department. The recording of the deed or
other instrument shall may not be delayed because of the transfer of the water rights.
The Upon request of the department, the county clerk and recorder shall send to the department, on a monthly basis, a
list of all transfers that involve transfers of water rights copy of the clerk and recorder's copy of any realty transfer
certificate that discloses a transfer of water rights. The list must be sent every month and must include all transfers for the
month immediately preceding the date of submittal to the department. The list must include the names and addresses of all
parties to the transfer and a legal description of the land subject to the transfer."
Section 4. Section 85-2-431, MCA, is amended to read:
"85-2-431. Penalty. (1) The transferor of a water right is responsible for the filing of a water right transfer certificate with the department in accordance with 85-2-424.
A person The transferor of a water right who violates 85-2-424(1) is liable for a civil penalty of not more than $50.
(3) An action to recover the penalty must be brought by the department and filed in the district court for the first judicial district.
(4) Any penalty fee collected under this section must be deposited in the water right appropriation account provided for in 85-2-318."
NEW SECTION. Section 5. Effective date -- applicability. [This act] is effective January 1, 1998, and applies only to deeds entering escrow on or after that date.