Monroe County Clerk Cheryl Dinolfo today congratulated the State Legislature for passing legislation to prevent homeowners from falling victim to a scam asking them to pay $60.00 or more for a certified copy of the deed to their home. Such copies can be obtained directly from the Monroe County Clerk's Office, in-person or online, for an average cost of just $5.00. The new legislation would require companies to inform homeowners that deeds are available for a nominal fee directly from their County Clerk's Office. The bill passed by both houses awaits Governor Paterson's signature to become law.
"This legislation is a common sense solution to protect homeowners from this outrageous practice," said County Clerk Dinolfo. "I'm proud to have worked with my fellow County Clerks to draw attention to this issue and congratulate our local delegation for joining with us to stop this scam."
Dinolfo previously warned the community about this issue last November and asked the company involved, New York Record Retrieval, Inc., to stop their unethical practices. However, the company continued to mail intimidating letters to homeowners implying that the federal government endorses its service.
"The actions of New York Record Retrieval, Inc. are disgraceful. Hopefully, this new legislation will put an end to their business practices," said Dinolfo. "Even if the company's actions are technically legal, there is no doubt that they are unethical and this legislation will hopefully put a stop to them."
The state legislation will require, upon enactment, any person, corporation, partnership or other entity which sells or offers to sell any certified copy of a property deed to provide to the purchaser notice of the inexpensive availability of the document from the Clerk's Office in at least twelve-point boldface type prior to the time of sale.
Property deeds are maintained by the County Clerk's Office on behalf of homeowners and taxpayers. State law sets the fees County Clerks can charge for the copies of such documents. Since fall of last year, New York Record Retrieval, Inc., a New York City-based company has been sending letters to new homeowners asking them to pay a $59.50 fee for a certified copy of the deed to their home.