Observing a significant milestone at the Norfolk County Registry of Deeds, Register William P. O’Donnell today announced the Registry recently processed its 1,500,000th registered land document. Register O’Donnell noted, “The processing of the 1,500,00th land registration document is a significant event in the life of the Registry and a testament to the volume of work completed each and every business day here at the Registry of Deeds.”
The Register explained that Massachusetts has two designations for recording property: recorded land and registered land/Land Court. “The majority of land is designated recorded land while a small percentage, approximately 20% here in Norfolk County, is defined as registered land. Land is considered registered land once a petition has been reviewed and adjudicated by the Massachusetts Land Court Department in Boston,” noted O’Donnell.
Registered land is also referred to as “Torrens” land. Purchasers of registered land have certain protections with respect to title issues and claims of adverse possession. Under this category, the Massachusetts Land Court issues a decree upon the submission of a petition and plan of land, and all subsequent owners of the land are issued numbered certificates of title describing the property and listing all encumbrances and rights affecting the property. Documents filed in the registered land section are carefully reviewed by a specially trained registry staff and if accepted are then assigned a document number and noted on the owner’s certificate of title.
“The Norfolk Land Court District is the second busiest in Massachusetts and our use of technology when it comes to improving the recording experience for our institutional users relative to electronic recording of Land Court documents is second to none”, noted O’Donnell. “We were the first Registry in Massachusetts to electronically record a registered land document on April 12, 2017”.
The electronic recording of recorded land documents has been in place since 2010 at the Norfolk County Registry of Deeds. However, due to the more stringent requirements associated with recording registered land documents, electronic recording of these particular documents could only take place with the passage of Chapter 404 of the Acts of 2016, an Act to Modernize Registries of Deeds, which eliminated the need to retain original registered land documents.
“The Registry continues to embrace and utilize cutting edge technologies allowing us to record land documents instantaneously. Documents are scanned and available for viewing within 24 business hours of recording at www.norfolkdeeds.org. Our computer systems are backed up on a nightly and weekly basis. This redundancy allows the Registry to maintain a permanent record of all land document recordings in the event of a disaster affecting our building at 649 High Street, Dedham. Additionally, the Registry also microfilms all recorded land documents and ships the microfilm off-site to a secure location where it can be retrieved in the event of a catastrophe,” stated the Register.
Residents and those with an interest in Norfolk County property are encouraged to visit the Registry of Deeds. Users of the Registry have options to view land documents by whichever means they are comfortable. Either hard copy via books or on-line by one of our many computer workstations available to the public or from the convenience of their home or work computer.
In conclusion, Register O’Donnell stated, “The Norfolk County Registry of Deeds is first and foremost an organization that is focused on customer service. Electronically recording Land Court documents saves our customers considerable time and expense, along with allowing Registry staff to be utilized in a more efficient manner. It’s a win-win situation for us all.”