Electronic technology has been growing leaps and bounds, making many areas of our lives much more productive and efficient. Twenty years ago we never could have imagined the widespread use of emails, IPODS, DVDs, or search engines that are being used today. Our children cannot imagine life without these conveniences.
In an attempt to harness this new technology, the real estate industry has been encouraging government officials to adopt measures to reduce the vast amount of paper from real estate deals and to eventually have paperless closings in cyber space. A move in that direction has been taken by the NCCUSL (National Conference of Commissioners of State Laws) which approved the Uniform Real Property Electronic Recording Act (“URPERA”). While URPERA does not provide for so-called cyber-closings, it does provide for
“E-Recordings”. The term “E-Recordings” is the process of submitting electronic documents to county recorders, or other local authority, where they are received, examined, recorded, indexed, fees collected, and returned to the submitter. URPERA has currently been enacted by fifteen (15) states and is pending before 6 other legislatures, including Massachusetts, as Senate Bill No. 827, entitled “An Act relative to the Uniform Real Property Recording Act.”
In essence, URPERA is an enabling act which will allows a registrar to receive and record electronic documents. URPERA provides that if an existing law requires an “original document”, an electronic document meeting the requirements of URPERA will satisfy this requirement. URPERA also provides that if an existing law requires that a document be “signed”, an electronic document meeting the requirements of URPERA satisfies those requirements. URPERA also provides that if an existing law requires that a document be “notarized”, “acknowledged”, etc., attaching the electronic signature of a notary satisfies those requirements. URPERA also provides a number of rules for recording, indexing, and searching for electronic documents.
If URPERA is adopted in Massachusetts, this legislation has the potential to create ease and efficiency in the recording process by reducing recording time and costs, standardizing the recording process, and improving productivity. Moreover, it should make buying real estate an easier and simpler process.
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