Recording Fees for Multiple Transactions in a Single Document

The Massachusetts Appeals Court issued its decision in Patriot Resorts Corp v. Register of Deeds for Berkshire North (No. 06-P-725) [Social Law Library Membership Required].

At issue was the proper interpretation of MGL c. 262, § 38 and MGL c. 44B § 8, which specifies the fees for recording documents with a registry of deeds. Patriot assigned multiple mortgage interests to a single assignee using a single assignment document. The register of deeds assessed recording fees based on the number of mortgages assigned. Patriot contended that the fee should instead have been based on the single instrument of assignment. The Superior Court agreed with the register’s position. Patriot appealed to the Massachusetts Appeals Court, who agreed with Patriot.

The appeals court reversed the judgment of the Superior Court, holding that the applicable statutes did not permit the registry to charge multiple fees for a single document even if the document was effectuating multiple actions.

Even with this ruling it looks like the registries are waiting for final resolution of the case, according to Dick Howe at the Middlesex Northern Registry of Deeds.