Ciresi introduces bill to simplify and make predictable the cost of recording documents

HARRISBURG, May 23 – State Rep. Joe Ciresi, D-Montgomery, today announced the introduction of legislation (H.B. 1244) that will make predictable the cost of recording documents charged by Recorders of Deeds.

“My legislation would simplify the recordation process, eliminate the potential for user error, and guarantee predictability for fees, which will benefit consumers, lenders, businesses, attorneys, and others who record documents in the Commonwealth,” Ciresi said.

The current method for calculating the cost of recording is dependent on page count, number of names, number of parcels, and number of marginal document references. According to Ciresi, the last-minute addition or removal of a page, or a miscalculation, can lead to the incorrect amount being included for a filing and subsequent rejection, causing uncertainty, delays, and potential harm to those involved in the transaction.

In 2016, the Legislative Budget and Finance Committee conducted a review of the fees collected by recorders of deeds. Its findings included: (1) “Fees charged by County Recorders of Deeds are difficult to predict because they can vary based on factors such as the number of pages and the number of names that need to be indexed” and (2) “Many states are moving toward predictable recording fees to avoid delays and penalties at settlement.”

“Not only does the current method create potential for surprises and delays, it is now incompatible with a legal rule issued by the federal regulator of residential mortgage transactions, the federal Consumer Financial Protection Bureau,” Ciresi said. “We need to revamp our procedures to make sure recording costs are accurately disclosed in advance of settlement and the document is recorded in its final form, and my legislation would ensure that compliance.”

“The Pennsylvania Land Title Association thanks Representative Joe Ciresi for introducing H.B. 1244 and looks forward to working with him and the General Assembly to ensure its passage,” said Todd Rowe, PLTA immediate past president. “PLTA counts amongst its members businesses and individuals who facilitate real estate purchase and finance settlements for consumers throughout Pennsylvania. This legislation will benefit those consumers by making predictable the cost of recording documents in the public land records.”

When passed, the legislation would impact recorders of deeds in the Second A, Third, Fourth, Fifth, Sixth, Seventh and Eighth class counties.

This legislation would be similar to laws passed in 19 other states.