New Legislation Enables Massachusetts Jurisdictions to E-record Land Court Documents

May 4, 2017

Until recently, Massachusetts law dictated that recorders must retain original, hard-copy Land Court documents, making electronic recording of those documents impossible. Early this year, however, the governor of Massachusetts signed into law House Bill 3862, overturning the requirement and allowing registers of deeds throughout the state to e-record Land Court documents for the first time.

In the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, about 80 percent of real property is “recorded land” whose record keeping is conducted by the recorded land department. The remaining 20 percent of real property, called “registered land,” is subject to stricter policies and managed by the registered land department, also known as the Land Court. Land registration documents related to registered land are commonly referred to as “Land Court documents.”

Hampden County, Norfolk County, and Southern Essex District were the first Massachusetts jurisdictions to record Land Court documents on April 12. All three jurisdictions have been e-recording recorded land documents for years and were eager to extend the benefits of e-recording to the Land Court.

“In 2004, the Hampden County Registry of Deeds was the first governmental agency on the east coast to perform an electronic recording. On April 12, 2017, we once again made history by being the first registry in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts to record a registered land document,” said Hampden County Register of Deeds Donald E. Ashe. “These historic events would not be possible without Simplifile’s hard work, dedication, and innovation in the field of electronic recording of documents.”

Simplifile announced that it is now electronically recording Land Court documents in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts for the first time.

“Simplifile has been helping Massachusetts jurisdictions e-record documents related to recorded land since 2007,” said Paul Clifford, president of Simplifile. “Registers of deeds throughout the Commonwealth have come to appreciate the efficiency, cost savings and customer service benefits of e-recording—and now they can apply those benefits across their recording workload.”

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