Filing Requirements and Document Checklists

Document Quality

Avoid presenting faxed pages for recording because they are largely non-reproducible.

Do not use photocopied Registry of Deeds descriptions as attachments to deeds, mortgages or other documents.

Unit deed plans, including the sizes of lettering and numbering appearing on submitted plans, must be legible; and photocopies made from floor plans will be rejected if they are not in compliance.

Document Checklists

There are differences in filing requirements between Recorded (Registry) land and Registered (Land Court) land.

Massachusetts and Norfolk County Indexing Standards

The Massachusetts Registers and Assistant Registers of Deeds Association Indexing Standards encourage uniformity in recording and land records practices in Massachusetts. It is important to recognize, however, that because of historical development of local and regional practices over many years, there are specific instances in which local registry policy and practice may be different from the general rules set forth in the Indexing Standards. The links below provide the current text, respectively, of the Massachusetts Indexing Standards and the Norfolk County Variations.

What type of land it is? Recorded (Registry) or Registered (Land Court) Land?

There are two categories of land records: Recorded (Registry) and Registered (Land Court). All land is in one category or the other, but it is possible for a single parcel to include land of both types. Each system has its respective advantages and differences.

80% percent of the land in Norfolk County is Recorded (Registry) land, 20% percent is Registered (Land Court) land. When searching, it is suggested that you begin your search with the Search Registry Records link. If you receive the message “Sorry, no (more) matching names found”, try your search with the Search Land Court Records link.

Please note, Recorded (Registry) Land and Registered (Land Court) Land records are separately indexed. One exception is searches by Address; which is a combined index of Recorded (Registry) and Registered (Land Court). FYI – The Registry has been including the property address for all applicable documents since 2003. There may be some listings from documents recorded prior to 2003, but it is very limited.

Research in each system is a little different. With Recorded (Registry) land, you enter the person’s name and the index will display all entries. With Registered (Land Court) land, you enter the person’s name to find a certificate of title number. There, you check the encumbrance listings under that certificate of title number to see the entries that affect that property.

The Recorded (Registry) land system is the traditional common law system of land records. Each document filed is entered in order of receipt, and referenced by its sequential book and page number of recording. Registry land constitutes the majority of the properties in Norfolk County.

Under the Registered (Land Court) system, there is a numbered current owner’s certificate of title for each registered land property. When the property is sold or transferred, a new certificate is issued. The registered land system is also referred to as the Torrens or Land Court system. It was introduced in Australia in the 1850’s and is used in a number of countries and American states, including Massachusetts, where it was introduced in 1901. Land Court records are supervised by the Land Court. Each document receives a sequential document number, and documents affecting a certificate of title are referenced in an encumbrance list for that certificate.

Registered (Land Court) land condominium certificates are maintained in a separate set of volumes, all with numbers that begin with the letter “C.”

The Norfolk County Registry of Deeds will be closed on Thursday, July 4th in celebration of Independence Day. We are open Friday, July 5th.

The Norfolk County Registry of Deeds is closed Today, July 4th in celebration of Independence Day. We are open Friday, July 5th.