House Bill 3934 , titled "An act to increase transparency in the Massachusetts land record systems to protect the property rights of homeowners and businesses" now resides in the Joint Committee on the Judiciary where a public hearing was held back on February 28, 2012.
The purpose of the bill which was filed by Representative Michael D. Brady of Brockton, will make it a legal requirement for a lender to record an assignment of mortgage within 30 days of the assignment being executed. Although most assume all real estate document must be recorded, that's not the case. Our recording system is a voluntary one and if someone with an interest in property chooses not to take advantage of the protections of the recording system, that's their right. But as a practical matter, almost all documents are recorded relatively promptly.
The main objective of this bill, it appears, is to curtail the operation of MERS in Massachusetts. MERS (which stands for Mortgage Electronic Registration Systems Inc) was created in the late 1990s as a central holding facility of mortgages for its member banks. It was in response to problems that arose during the real estate collapse of the early 1990s when easily negotiated promissory notes often left behind the mortgage of real estate. MERS was designed to hold the mortgage as a trustee for whichever lender or investor ended up with the note. The system seemed to work quite well as long as the real estate market was healthy, but in the aftermath of the bubble bursting of 2007-08, many have latched onto MERS as part of the problem. This bill seeks to remedy that perceived problem. I'll try to keep track of the measure and report on its progress as it works its way through the legislature.