Coronavirus (Covid-19) Updates
Governor Baker’s extending the non-essential business openings/stay at home order, the Registry Building will remain closed to the public until further notice. Please remember that the staff is still working and processing recordings either by e-file or hand carried documents to our door. In bringing the documents to the door please call ahead so that you will be expected. The ”stacks” remain available for research purposes with a limited number of visitors by appointment only (8am to noon and 1pm to 4pm). Likewise in carrying out the direction of the Governor, the Registries will notarize documents for residents but on an appointment basis.
Thank you for your understanding and cooperation.
Sherrilynn M. Mello, Register
25 North 6th Street
New Bedford, MA 02740
508-993-2605 (ext. 16)
Serving the communities of Acushnet, Dartmouth, Fairhaven, New Bedford & Westport
Massachusetts Deed Indexing Standards 2018
April 2020 Amendment
(REVISED APRIL 23, 2020 regarding Registered Land)
The Massachusetts Registers and Assistant Registers of Deeds Association has adopted the following Amendment to the Massachusetts Deed Indexing Standards 2018. This amendment is effective April 17, 2020, as revised on April 23, 2020.
13-7. Electronic Signatures by Municipal Boards – The following procedure is recommended for municipal boards and committees that wish to execute documents in accordance with Massachusetts General Laws chapter 110G (Uniform Electronic Transaction Act) which documents are then to be recorded at the registry of deeds.
- At a properly called meeting, the municipal board or commission should formally vote that the board recognizes and accepts the provisions of M.G.L. c.110G regarding electronic signatures and that its members will henceforth execute documents either with electronic signatures or with wet ink signatures and that both will carry the same legal weight and effect.
- The board then records at the registry of deeds a Certificate of Vote that provides the language of the motion that was made regarding electronic signatures and attests to the vote taken, and obtains the Town Clerk’s certification.
- Then, board members may cause their electronic signature to be affixed to permitting or compliance documents that have been approved by a board vote. Such electronically signed documents should also include a statement that the signatures are made in accordance with M.G.L. c.110G and pursuant to the board’s electronic signature authorization vote recorded on [DATE] in [BOOK and PAGE] at the [NAME OF REGISTRY] Registry of Deeds.
- Any document so executed shall be accepted for recording at the registry of deeds either in electronic form or as a paper print of the electronically executed document.
APRIL 23, 2020 REVISION
Land Court has not approved the execution of documents by the use of electronic signatures.
Please see the following memo from the Chief Title Examiner of the Land Court:
To: All Registered Land Registry Districts
From: Christina T. Geaney, Chief Title Examiner
Re: Land Court Advisory Regarding Massachusetts Deed Indexing Standards 2008; April 2020 Amendment, Section 13-7. Electronic Signatures by Municipal Boards
Dated: April 23, 2020
The court is aware of the recent amendment of the Deed Indexing Standards to deal with electronic signatures by municipal boards on documents being presented for record. The court wants to make its Assistant Recorders and their staffs aware that the court has NOT approved, in cases involving registered land, so much of the procedure outlined in the recent changes as allows for electronic signatures to be employed.
The procedure provided for in the April 2020 amendment to the Massachusetts Deed Indexing Standards 2018, Section 13-7. Electronic Signatures by Municipal Boards, is not authorized by the Land Court for use with registered land documents, in so far as the procedure permits the designated person acting with delegated authority on behalf of a municipal board or commission, when authorized to do so by vote, to sign documents using an electronic signature.
“Electronic signature” refers to a signature rendered in typewritten fashion as: “/s/John Q. Doe.” To date, the Land Court has not approved, for registered land documents, the general use of electronic signatures as a means of execution. Absent a current statute, rule, order1, or court guideline making particular allowance for the execution of a specific type of document using an electronic signature, the court does not authorize the filing for registration of documents which have not been executed using an actual, so-called “wet ink,” signature. (This also is true with regard to signatures placed on a certificate of acknowledgment or a jurat by a notary public.) Accordingly, in the circumstances described in the Standard, Section 13-7, the board’s or commission’s authorized signatory must sign a registered land document with an actual “wet ink” signature.
The court continues to approve and encourage the broad use of e-filing for registered land documents; a document properly executed with a manual wet ink signature may be transmitted to the District using e-filing, and, if otherwise proper for registration, may be accepted for registration in this manner.
The court’s title examination staff remains available to all District personnel to respond to questions about the acceptability of documents for registration, including questions about the adequacy of the method of execution employed. Inquiries to the court’s staff may be directed to us as outlined in the court’s March 25, 2020 guidance, Land Court interim procedure for remote approvals, found on the Trial Court’s webpage at: http://www.mass.gov/guides/court-system-response-to-covid-19#-land-court-
1 The court authorizes, for example, registration of orders or judgments signed electronically by judges and clerks of Massachusetts courts, or their designees, pursuant to Supreme Judicial Court Rule 1:25 – Massachusetts Rules of Electronic Filing or the “Order Concerning Electronic Signatures of Judges and Clerks” issued March 25, 2020 by the Supreme Judicial Court.
June 1, 2020
… and it continues … for the week beginning Monday June 1, 2020
- Registry operations will continue from 8 am to 4 pm for the purpose of recording
- The building will remain closed to the public at this time
- Individuals wishing to access the “stacks” can do so by asking for an appointment either between the hours of 8am and Noon or 1pm to 4 pm – there is limited access and walk-ups are not allowed. When calling the Recorded Land Department availability will be discussed as well as how to enter the building.
Earlier this week Governor Baker announced that individuals in need of notarizing documents can go to any of the Registry of Deeds in the Commonwealth. We are happy to provide this service with the understanding that appointments must be made & individuals bring appropriate identification. When arriving for an appointment they will be met at the side elevator entrance by a staff notary (masked and gloved) who will escort them to the closing room where they will perform the service. (508) 993-2605 ext. 28. It is also required that individuals entering the building for this reason come with gloves and mask for their own personal use. No more than two individuals will be allowed during this service.
For your convenience … We have installed a door bell system at each entrance (front door and elevator entrances). They are marked for the department you will be using and will save you the use of your cell phone or “pounding” on the door to get our attention.
Effect March 26, 2020
RE: Land Court Memorandum
For Documents that would require Land Court approval during this PANDEMIC impact, please call our Registered Land Department for instructions as the process for Land Court approval has changed during this time.
(508) 993-2605 ext. 15
Effective Monday March 23,2020 The Registry falls under the category of essential employees and we will continue to follow the same procedure that has been adjusted for the past week. We will now be closing from 12pm to 1pm for staff lunches.
March 17, 2020 – Noon
PANDEMIC IMPACT UPDATE #2
In order to ensure the health and safety of our employees and the integrity of the recording system I am announcing the following changes to operation resulting from the Pandemic.
The building will be closed to the general public – effective Wednesday, March 18 and until further notice.
Our employees will be at their workstations and answering emails and phone calls placed to the Registry as long as operations have not been directed to close. Copy request can be directed to firstname.lastname@example.org. All other inquiries should be directed to Sherri@newbedforddeeds.com for recorded land questions and email@example.com for registered land questions.
Effective Wednesday, March 18 – and until further notice – closings cannot be conducted at the New Bedford Registry location. Closing attorneys and real estate professionals are encouraged to make alternate arrangements at locations of their choosing.
Limited access to the research hall (the “stacks”) will be in place until such time that we are directed to cease operations. Access will be by appointment only and can be made by calling (508)993-2605 (ext. 28)
The following is an amendment to the admission policy outlined in Pandemic Issue #2 and will be effective for Friday 3/20/2020. Individuals requesting access to the on-site records will make appointments with the staff for either an 8am to 11:30am shift or 12:30pm to 4:00 pm (or any part of that shift not to exceed the shift end time). This is done in order to comply with the recommendations for social distancing and the increased calls we have received for access to the building/records. Please understand that this is subject to further change depending upon the number of requests made or directives to close the facility by the government.
We will be accepting in-person recordings at the front entrance – public access into and within the offices will be restricted and it is recommended that you call in advance of arriving at the Registry. Documents will need to be presented in such a format that will facilitate ease in recording. When planning to come to the registry the staff will make every effort to instruct you on the filing process in order to minimize any frustration or complications that may occur.
Please call (508) 993-2605 (ext. 10)
We urge those who are recording documents that are not time-sensitive to please submit via the US Postal Service, FedEx, or UPS to 25 No. Sixth Street New Bedford, MA 02740.
Electronic recording will continue without interruption. We encourage you to use this method rather than bringing the documents to the Registry. Links to the two electronic recording vendors who submit to the Registry are available on our website for those who are interested.
We appreciate your patience and understanding as we implement these changes. Please visit our website at www.newbedforddeeds.com frequently for research and up to date notices regarding this national emergency. I appreciate your patience and cooperation as we navigate through this crisis with the common goal of limiting the damage to our fellow citizens.
Dr. Frederick M. Kalisz, Jr.
Register of Deeds
(508) 993-2605 ext. 16