Wednesday, December 14, 2011

The registry of deeds and the US mail

Last week a wave of stories broke about plans to curtail mail service in the United States.  This article from the December 5, 2011 New York Times, for example, mentions lengthening the time of delivery of first class mail.  Now, a majority of pieces in that postage category are delivered the next day.  Under the new plan, which involves among other things, closing many regional mail processing centers (including the one in Lowell), the quickest that first class mail would be delivered would be two days after mailing, even if it's only going across the street.  This is just a proposal, but it seems clear that big changes will be coming to our national mail service.

The problems of the USPS got me thinking about the relationship between the registry of deeds and the mail.  Approximately one-quarter of our daily intake of documents comes to the registry by mail or other delivery service (as opposed to in-person or electronic recordings). 

Here are some of our observations about "the mail."  By far the biggest volume arrives on Monday (or a Tuesday if there's a three day weekend).  Tuesdays and Fridays tie for the next busiest mail day, while the volume on Wednesdays and Thursdays tail off considerably.  Most of the mail that arrives on Mondays was sent by a bank or other institutional entity while mail received on the other days comes primarily form law offices.

When we use the term "mail", it refers to all documents delivered to us, be it by the US Postal Service, UPS or Fedex.  The latter two are used almost exclusively by banks and institutions and rarely by law offices.  As a percentage of our daily "mail", deliveries from UPS and Fedex are definitely increasing.  These days, the document types most frequently received by mail are foreclosure related.  There will be a spurt of orders of notice followed a few months later by an increase in foreclosure deeds.  Since the Ibanez case, the number of foreclosure-related assignments received by mail has definitely increased.

The single biggest reason we reject mail is that the document presented for recording lacks a reference to a related document.  It is essential that such a reference be present so that we can ascertain whether the document belongs in Recorded Land or Registered Land.  Other reasons for rejection, in descending order of frequency, are documents sent to us are for another registry; there's a missing signature (either grantor, notary or on the check), and finally, the check accompanying check for recording fees may be stale or in the wrong amount.

Finally, the way to ensure that your mailed-in document gets recorded promptly is to include a self-addressed stamped envelope with it.  Those get processed very quickly.  Because they need additional handling, submissions that lack the required SASE are put aside so as not to delay those customers who follow the rules.  We eventually record the mailed in docs that lack a SASE, but only after everything else has been recorded. 

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