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Attorney General Coakley Advises Homeowners to Be Cautious of “Deed Collection Services”

Massachusetts Attorney General Martha Coakley is cautioning residents to be cautious of companies demanding money to obtain a copy of a deed to a home.

Mail solicitations from so-called “deed collection services” offer to sell homeowners a copy of the deed to their home at rates between $50 and $90. The solicitations sometimes appear to be from a government office or look like an invoice, demanding payment or compliance by a specific date. However, homeowners should know they are not obliged to pay these entities or to purchase a copy of their deed. Most homeowners receive a copy of the deed to their property at the closing for the purchase of their home. Homeowners can also obtain a copy of their deed for free or for a nominal fee, by visiting the Registry of Deeds in person or online.

“Homeowners should not spend a significant amount of money to obtain a copy of the deed to their home,” AG Coakley said. “We advise residents to contact their local registry with questions.”

To date, a number of companies have solicited Massachusetts homeowners to purchase copies of the deeds to their homes at significantly more than the actual cost of obtaining the documents, including Record Transfer Services, Record Retrieval Department, Proxy Data Retrieval LLC, National Record Service, and Property Transfer Services.

In order to obtain a copy of the deed to their home, homeowners may:

· Go to the Registry of Deeds in person, where copies are available for a minimal copying fee (generally $0.50 per page). Should a consumer desire a certified copy of their deed, they can obtain one from the appropriate Registry of Deeds for only a few dollars.

· Visit the Registry of Deeds’ website, where homeowners typically can download a copy free of charge, or for a small fee. Homeowners can find their local Registry of Deeds via the Secretary of State’s Office, at http://www.sec.state.ma.us/rod/.

If you have a consumer complaint, you may contact the Attorney General’s Public Inquiry & Assistance Center Hotline at (617) 727-8400, or file a complaint on the Attorney General's website

 

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