Thursday, December 03, 2020

Scheduled outage of masslandrecords.com this weekend

 Due to necessary maintenance, the masslandrecords.com website will be DOWN from 8pm on Friday, December 4 until 9pm on Saturday, December 5.

Thursday, November 26, 2020

New Limits on Building Access

Due to rising infection rates, the Trial Court seeks to substantially curtail the number of people entering courthouses. Consequently, beginning on Friday, November 27 and extending at least until Friday, December 4, 2020, those delivering documents and plans to the Middlesex North Registry of Deeds for recording will be required to place the items to be recorded in the Drop-Box that is just inside the entrance to the Lowell Justice Center. 

After dropping off your documents, please call us at 978-322-9000 to tell us so we may go out and retrieve them. 

As soon as documents are recorded and scanned, they are available on the registry website for viewing, printing, and download.  

Members of the public who drop off documents for recording may email us at lowelldeeds@comcast.net afterwards with the name and address on the documents and we will email a PDF copy of the recorded document to them. 

Anyone seeking a copy of their deed, plan, or other document, should call the registry at 978-322-9000 or email us and we will assist you over the phone or by email. 

Finally, any documents being dropped off for recording should be accompanied by a self-addressed stamped envelope so that we may return the original documents to you AND a check payable to Registry of Deeds in the proper amount for the recording fee. 


Thursday, November 19, 2020

Emergency Shutdown Aftermath

 At 12:30 pm on Tuesday, November 17, 2020, a Court Officer notified me that Lowell Justice Center (home of the Middlesex North Registry of Deeds) would close that day at 2 pm and would remain closed until Thursday, November 19, 2020, at 8:30 am. The reason? A person working inside the building on Monday had tested positive for Covid-19.

Here's what the Trial Court issued on its MACourtClosings Twitter account:

The Lowell Justice Center is closed temporarily for disinfecting and will open on Thursday, Nov. 19. A Dept. of Mental Health clinician, who was at the courthouse on 11/16 & spent time in District Court & the lock-up, has tested positive for COVID-19.

At the Registry, we recorded all the documents that had arrived by mail that day, put a notice on our website, and changed the audio greeting on our phone system to one that explained when and why we were closed. At 2 pm we departed. 

Despite the office being closed to the public, we were able to continue processing electronic recordings on Tuesday afternoon and all day Wednesday.

This morning, the building reopened as usual and normal operations resumed. 

Wednesday, September 16, 2020

Lowell Justice Center closed Friday, Sept 18, 2020

The Lowell Justice Center and all state courts will be closed on Friday, September 18, 2020, due to the death of Chief Justice Ralph Gants of the Supreme Judicial Court. Because the Middlesex North Registry of Deeds is located within the Justice Center, it will not be open to the public that day. However, we do intend to process electronic recordings in our normal manner but all other recordings (mail, drop-offs) will be processed on Monday, September 21, 2020.

Friday, July 17, 2020

Reopening Update: July 17, 2020


Here are some observations on our first week of being open to the public:

We are only open for limited purposes. Please consult the REOPENING page on our website for details on the services we offer and those we cannot.

The primary reason people have come is to drop off documents for recording. If you have Registered Land or Plans, you must still email them to lowelldeeds@comcast.net for preapproval before bringing them here.

If you have Recorded Land documents, you may email them for preapproval although that is not required. However, you must have your documents, check and return envelope fully ready before you arrive.

If you are a homeowner with an Order of Conditions, Certificate of Compliance, or other document from Town Hall, please call us at 978-322-9000 before coming so we can explain the procedure and answer any questions.

We are also able to administer oaths of office for those with new or renewed notary commissions. You must call in advance and schedule an appointment. Call 978-322-9000.

Finally, all of our documents, plans, and certificates of title are scanned and freely available on our website. If you believe something is not there, please read our Search Records Instructions page which explains how to find everything, especially our oldest documents. After reading these instructions, if you still cannot find something, please email us at lowelldeeds@comcast.net and we will assist you in obtaining the document you need.

Friday, July 10, 2020

Reopening the Registry

On Monday, July 13, 2020, courthouses across the Commonwealth will reopen to the public on a limited basis. This means the Middlesex North Registry of Deeds will also reopen to the public on a limited basis.

Please visit the registry's "Reopening" page for a description of how we will operate starting on Monday. Here are the main points:

  • Walk-in Recordings will be "drop off" recordings. Customers will leave their documents, checks and envelopes at the entrance to the registry. After the customer leaves, registry personnel will retrieve and record the documents. 
  • Registered Land and Plans to be recorded must still be sent by email to lowelldeeds@comcast.net for pre-approval. Pre-approval means don't send the physical documents to us until you have received approval from us by email.
  • No paper copies of documents or plans will be provided in-person. We urge customers to obtain documents from our website but if paper copies are required, they may be requested by mail. 
  • Registry employees WILL NOT notarize documents
  • We will administer Oaths of Office, however, the person taking the oath must make an appointment in advance.
In other words, how we will operate after the building reopens will not be much different than how we have been operating throughout the pandemic. 

Monday, May 18, 2020

Looking Ahead at the Registry of Deeds

Last Thursday (May 14, 2020) the Chief Justices of the Supreme Judicial, Appeals and Trial Courts issued a letter on "the path forward during the pandemic." Here are some of the things that stood out when I read it:

  • "We anticipate that our courthouses will likely remain physically closed in June . . ."
  • "We expect that courthouses will physically reopen this summer, but only in stages and only for certain matters that require in-person appearances.
  • "We hope that in September, if schools reopen, we will once again begin to conduct jury trials."
And regarding the rapid progress the courts have made in shifting to video conferences in place of in-person hearings, the Chief Justices wrote, "even when this pandemic is behind us, we do not believe we will or should go back to doing things as we did in February." 

The reason I mention all of this in a post about future operations at the Registry of Deeds is that this Registry of Deeds is physically located within a courthouse and is therefore dependent on the courthouse being open for us to be open to the public.

That said, even when the courthouse reopens to the public, I'll borrow a line from the justices and say we will not go back to doing things as we did before the pandemic struck. Here are some of the things that are likely even after the building reopens to the public:

  •  Walk in recordings will be limited to dropping documents at the entrance to the registry
  • Customer will not be permitted near the section of the registry counter where the recording terminals are located
  • For registered land, we will still require you to email us the documents you intend to register for pre-approval before we will accept the documents being dropped off
  • Same for plans
  • There will be no real estate closings within the registry space (this was going to be the case anyway since there is no such space in the new registry)
  • There will be no opportunity to do research within the registry space (this was going to be case anyway since there is no such space in the new registry)
  • There will be no public computers for pre-recording rundowns. The building has WiFi so if a rundown is important, bring your laptop and do it from outside the registry
In addition to the above, we are still researching how to safely provide some of our other services such as providing over sized prints of previously recorded plans; administering oaths of office; and allowing corporate certificates to be sent directly to this office. 

In the future, as now, we hope to use the telephone, email and our website to provide customer service rather than doing it in person. 

That's it for now. I'll provide more updates as they become available.