As many of you have heard, on September 14, 2000, Governor Paul Cellucci signed into law the Massachusetts Community Preservation Act (M.G.L. c.44B. This new legislation creates a surcharge on Registry of Deeds recording fees thus having a substantial impact on your everyday dealings with the Registry.

Pursuant to the new law, a $20.00 surcharge will be collected for every document or plan that you record at the Registry of Deeds. The only exceptions are municipal lien certificates (which will have a $10.00 surcharge) and Declarations of Homestead (which will be exempt from the surcharge). The surcharge will apply to both Registered and Recorded Land.

The Community Preservation Act will allow the municipalities to establish a Community Preservation Fund for the purpose of acquiring and preserving open space, historic resources, land for recreational use, and community housing. Money collected through the surcharge will provide part of the funding for this new law.

The new law will take effect on December 13, 2000. Any documents recorded on or after that date will be subject to the surcharge.

In anticipation of the upcoming change, we suggest that all conveyancers plan ahead. Include the appropriate surcharge fees for all discharges as part of the registry recording fees on the HUD-1 Settlement Statement starting immediately. This way you will avoid any unnecessary expenses in the event that the discharges on current payoffs arrive after December 13th. Further, we suggest that you make an effort to obtain and record all discharges of mortgages currently outstanding in your files before the surcharge law goes into effect.