2017 ORS 696.581¹
Written escrow instructions or agreement required
  • statement
  • instructions containing blank prohibited
  • one-sided escrow
  • exceptions

(1) An escrow agent may not accept funds, property or documents in any escrow transaction without dated, written escrow instructions from the principals to the transaction or a dated executed agreement in writing between the principals to the transaction.

(2) Except as provided in this section, an escrow agent must follow dated, written escrow instructions executed by the principals or a dated executed written agreement between the principals to a transaction.

(3) Except as provided in ORS 314.258 (Withholding in certain conveyances of real estate), an escrow agent may not close an escrow or disburse any funds or property in an escrow without obtaining dated, separate escrow instructions in writing from the principals to the transaction adequate to administer and close the transaction or, in the case of disbursement, to disburse the funds and property.

(4) The following statement or its substantial equivalent shall appear on or be attached to all written escrow instructions prepared by an escrow agent for signature of the principals to a transaction. The statement shall be in at least 10-point bold type. The statement shall either appear immediately above the signatures of the principals or be separately initialed by the principals:

______________________________________________________________________________

It is understood by the parties signing the above or attached instructions that the instructions are the complete instructions between this firm as an escrow agent and you as a principal to the escrow transaction. These instructions may not include all the terms of the agreement which is the subject of this escrow. Read these instructions carefully, and do not sign them unless they are acceptable to you.

______________________________________________________________________________

(5) An escrow agent may not solicit or accept any original, amended or supplemental escrow instructions containing any blank to be filled in after signing. An escrow agent may not allow any alteration of original, amended or supplemental escrow instructions, unless the alteration is signed or initialed by all principals who signed or initialed the instructions before the alteration.

(6) An escrow agent may accept trust funds, in excess of earnest money required in transaction documents to be held, as individual funds of the principal who has paid them into escrow. Such individual trust funds may be disbursed with only the separate written instructions of the principal who deposited the funds into escrow.

(7) An escrow agent may open a one-sided escrow, as defined by rule by the Real Estate Commissioner, by receiving the funds, property or documents for an escrow. Such escrow funds may be disbursed with only the separate written instructions of the principal who deposited the funds into escrow.

(8) Except as authorized in ORS 105.475 (Buyer’s statement of revocation of offer), notwithstanding the requirement for dated, separate escrow instructions to close an escrow or disburse funds or property in an escrow, an escrow agent:

(a) May disburse earnest money deposited based on an agreement of the parties executed after the initial sales agreement; and

(b) May not impose additional requirements on the principals to the transaction, including a requirement that the principals sign a release of liability in favor of the escrow agent.

(9) Notwithstanding any provision of this section, an escrow agent may disburse funds, property or documents deposited in escrow in accordance with an order of a court of competent jurisdiction. [1985 c.399 §2; 1991 c.874 §11; 2007 c.289 §1; 2008 c.54 §2; 2009 c.174 §11]

Chapter 696

Atty. Gen. Opinions

Sales of subdivision lots by mobile home salespeople, (1975) Vol 37, p 865; sales or offers of interests in limited partnerships to invest in real estate, (1978) Vol 38, p 1971

1 Legislative Counsel Committee, CHAPTER 696—Real Estate and Escrow Activities, https://­www.­oregonlegislature.­gov/­bills_laws/­ors/­ors696.­html (2017) (last ac­cessed Mar. 30, 2018).
 
2 Legislative Counsel Committee, Annotations to the Oregon Revised Stat­utes, Cumulative Supplement - 2017, Chapter 696, https://­www.­oregonlegislature.­gov/­bills_laws/­ors/­ano696.­html (2017) (last ac­cessed Mar. 30, 2018).
 
3 OregonLaws.org assembles these lists by analyzing references between Sections. Each listed item refers back to the current Section in its own text. The result reveals relationships in the code that may not have otherwise been apparent.