The latest on real estate recordings and new technology from the Middlesex North Registry of Deeds in Lowell
The Massachusetts Appeals Court issued its decision in Patriot Resorts Corp v. Register of Deeds for Berkshire North (No. 06-P-725), a case that may change the way that registries of deeds around the state calculate some recording fees. Patriot Resorts was the developer of a time share resort in the Berkshires. Buyers of time shares would receive a deed to the unit for a set period of time and, in most cases, a mortgage from Patriot Resorts. As a developer and not a bank, Patriot Resorts would quickly assign those mortgages to another financial institution. Rather than put one assignment on one piece of paper, Patriot would bundle dozens, if not hundreds, of assignments together in a single document. Following the accepted method of pricing documents, the Northern Berkshire Registry would charge a separate recording fee for each assignment. With recording fees reaching six figures, Patriot filed suit and, when a Superior Court judge ruled in the registry’s favor, appealed. By a two to one decision, the appeals court reversed the judgement of the Superior Court, holding that the applicable statutes did not permit the registry to charge multiple fees for multiple document. While this case has far reaching implications, we will maintain the status quo for now until a decision is made on whether to seek further judicial review of this matter.
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