For the February 2017 bar exam, the NCBE introduced changes to Real Property which affected both the MBE and MEE. The NCBE announced the upcoming changes on their website in August of 2015, but the changes did not go into full effect until the February 2017 bar exam. Below you will find exactly what changed.
The new topics added include: (1) conflicts of law (I.D.4.); (2) property owners’ associations and common interest ownership communities (II.A.6.); (3) drafting, review, and negotiation of closing documents (V.B.3.); and (4) persons authorized to execute real estate documents (V.B.4.).
The good news is that only four completely new topics have been added, and those four new topics affect only three of the five subtopics (i.e., Subtopics I., II., and V.). These changes are actually pretty minor. Additionally, these are all very practical topics that are not only good to know for the practice of law, but also for everyday life. This knowledge will be useful when you or someone close to you needs help purchasing or selling their first home.
In addition to the new topics added, there are a few topics that have expanded converge:
- Within future interests, rules affecting these interests were added to the scope of coverage including survivorship, class gifts, waste, and cy pres (I.A.2.e.).
- Under landlord-tenant law, rules regarding security deposits were added to the termination of tenancies (I.C.4.).
- Within restrictive covenants and within easements, profits, and licenses, transfers were added to the scope of coverage (II.A.4.)(II.B.4.).
- Zoning added a further break down of coverage, including zoning laws, protection of pre-existing property rights, and rezoning and other zoning changes (II.D.1.-3.).
- Under Foreclosure, acceleration was added (IV.E.2.).
The good news here is that these will be minor modifications to areas that have already been tested for years. These changes to the outline are actually positive for test-takers. These are areas that, for the most part, are already in your outlines and have been tested in the past already. The NCBE is just being more specific within these areas about what to study and include in your outlines. These changes will only help you study more on target. Also note that these changes affect only three out of the five subtopics (i.e., Subtopics I., II., and IV.).
The NCBE has also removed two topics from the Subject Matter Outline: (1) application of Article 9 of the Uniform Commercial Code to fixtures (previously II.C.); and (2) abatement of devises (previously V.C.5.).