Lowell Deeds

The latest on real estate recordings and new technology from the Middlesex North Registry of Deeds in Lowell

August 10, 2007

Cover Sheets

by @ 10:59 am. Filed under Registry Ops

When we first implemented electronic recording two years ago, one of our challenges was where to place the recording information on an electronically submitted document. Because we have no real formatting standards in this state, the layout of every document is different. When the document is sitting in front of us, we can usually wedge the label containing the recording information into some spot on the face of the document. With an electronically recorded document, however, the recording label must go onto the same spot on every document. Due to the diversity of formatting, we would inevitably have recording information overwriting important text of the document. Consequently, for all electronic recordings, we use a coversheet that is automatically generated by our computer system. All recording info – Document number, type, book and page number, date of recording, receipt number and recording fee – is printed on the cover sheet. The cover sheet then becomes the first page of the document. A one page discharge recorded electronically enters our system as a two page document (the discharge plus the cover sheet). This system has worked quite well. We’ve now decided to roll out a similar process for some regular (non-electronic) documents. The formatting standards that are now under consideration by the registers of deeds association call for a blank space 3 inches by 3 inches in size at the upper right corner of the first page of each document. This is where recording information would be placed. But we recognize that the customer who is trying to record the document may not have any control over the formatting of the document. A municipal lien certificate, a death certificate or any other document produced by a governmental entity would be an example. If New York only produces death certificates with ¼ inch margins all around, how could a customer every get such a document recorded in Massachusetts if we strictly construed the “recording box” requirement? For cases such as this, we will make available a coversheet similar to the one used in electronic recording. This coversheet would be affixed to the document and recording information would be placed on it. In the coming weeks, we hope to make samples of possible cover sheets available for public comment.

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