PA 09-213—sSB 1126

Judiciary Committee

Planning and Development Committee

AN ACT CONCERNING LAND RECORDS

SUMMARY: This act eliminates a town clerk's duty to make a notation in the land records in connection with various documents recorded in the town's land records, including liens, mortgages, and certain certificates and condominium related documents. Instead, it requires that the town clerk record a (1) discharge of lien, attachment, or other encumbrance, or (2) certain certificates on the town's land records (see BACKGROUND). It also makes several related and conforming technical changes.

EFFECTIVE DATE: October 1, 2009

1 & 2 — TAX LIENS

The act changes the method of discharging municipal tax liens that have been continued, but not foreclosed, for 15 years from the date a certificate of continuation was filed on the land records. Under prior law, the lien was discharged when the town clerk noted on the margin of the certificate that it had been discharged by operation of law, together with the date and the town clerk's signature. The act instead requires the (1) tax collector, upon the request of any interested person, to file a discharge of lien in the office of the municipality's town clerk and (2) town clerk to record a discharge of lien in the land records.

3 — RECORDED CONDOMINIUM INSTRUMENTS

The act eliminates the requirement that town clerks make a marginal notation in the recorded original condominium instruments when the designation and agent for service of process named in the declaration is changed.

4 — CONDOMINIUM OFFICERS OR MANAGING AGENT

By law, a condominium's unit owners' association must file each January in the town clerk's office of the municipality where the common interest community is located a certificate indicating the name and mailing address of the association's officer or managing agent from whom a resale certificate may be requested. It must also file a revised certificate within 30 days after any change in the officer's or agent's name or address. The act eliminates a requirement for town clerks to keep these certificates on file and make them available for inspection. It instead requires them to record such certificates in the land records.

5 — INVALID MORTGAGES OR OTHER LIENS

By law, the court can render a judgment declaring a mortgage or other lien invalid as to certain real estate. The judgment must be recorded on the land records. The act eliminates the town clerk's obligation, upon the request of any interested person, to (1) endorse on the record of the mortgage or lien the words “discharged by judgment of the Superior Court” and (2) list the volume and page number in the land records where the judgment is recorded. Instead it requires the town clerk, on request, to record a discharge of the encumbrance in the land records.

6, 7, & 8 — LIEN IN CONNECTION WITH BOND IN LIEU OF ATTACHMENT

By law, whenever a bond has been accepted in lieu of an attachment or in lieu of a previously accepted or ordered attachment bond, a notice of lien in favor of the attaching creditor and against the surety on the bond may be filed with the town clerk of the town in which the surety's real estate is located. The notice of lien constitutes a lien upon the real estate described in the notice. Such a lien on real estate is no longer effective after 15 years unless within that 15-year time period (1) a legal proceeding was initiated to collect on the bond and a judgment was obtained and (2) a judgment lien was recorded against the surety on the land records. All expired real estate liens are deemed dissolved and the real estate is free from any lien or encumbrance.

The act eliminates the requirement that the town clerk, upon the request of any interested person, endorse on the record of the notice of lien the words “discharged by operation of law. ” Instead, the act requires the clerk to discharge the lien by recording a discharge of lien in the land records.

If (1) the suit has been discharged or dismissed, (2) final judgment has been rendered against the plaintiff, or (3) for any reason the lien has no effect, the court clerk must, upon the request of any interested person, issue a certificate specifying the facts. The certificate may be filed in the town clerk's office. The act eliminates the requirement that the town clerk make a note about the certificate on the margin of the record where the lien is recorded and record it in a book kept for that purpose. Instead, it requires the town clerk to record the certificate in the land records.

9 & 10 — REAL ESTATE ATTACHMENTS

By law, when real estate has been attached in any proceeding where the law requires a certificate of attachment or a copy of the writ or proceeding to be filed in the town clerk's office, and for any reason the attachment is no longer effective, the plaintiff or the plaintiff's attorney, at the request of any person interested in the estate attached or in having the attachment lien removed, must file a certificate with the town clerk that the attachment is dissolved and the lien removed.

Under prior law, the certificate had to be recorded in a book kept for that purpose by the town clerk as a part of the land records. The act instead requires that the town clerk record the certificate in the land records.

By law, if an attachment on real estate has been made and the plaintiff has withdrawn the lawsuit, final judgment has been rendered against him or her, or if for any reason the attachment has become of no effect, the clerk of the court must, upon the request of any person interested, issue a certificate describing what has occurred. The certificates may be filed in the office of the town clerk. Under prior law, the town clerk had to make a note concerning the certificate on the margin of the record where the attachment is recorded. The act instead requires the town clerk to record the certificate in the land records.

11 — REAL ESTATE ATTACHMENTS

By law, no attachment of real estate remains in effect as a lien for more than 15 years unless within that time the underlying legal action has ended and a judgment lien is filed against the real estate according to law. All real estate attachments that have expired are deemed dissolved and the real estate is deemed to be free from any lien or encumbrance by reason of the attachment. Under prior law, the town clerk of the town in which the real estate was situated had to, upon the request of any interested person, endorse on the attachment record the words “discharged by operation of law. ” Instead, the act requires the town clerk, upon the request of any interested person, to discharge the attachment lien by recording a discharge of lien in the land records.

12 — DISCHARGE OF PURCHASER'S LIEN

Under prior law, the town clerk of the town in which a purchaser's lien was filed had to, upon request of any person having an interest in the real estate, note on the land records that the lien and, if applicable, the lis pendens or notice of foreclosure, was discharged by operation of law, if the purchaser's lien had expired due to the statute of limitations, and:

1. no lis pendens or notice of foreclosure of the lien had been filed with that town clerk, or

2. if a lis pendens or notice of foreclosure was filed or recorded, then a certificate was filed with the town clerk, issued by the appropriate court clerk indicating the foreclosure action was no longer pending and that no judgment had been entered.

The act instead requires the town clerk, under the same circumstances specified above, to discharge the lien and, if applicable, the lis pendens notice or notice of foreclosure, by recording in the land records a discharge of lien and, if applicable, a discharge of lis pendens or notice of foreclosure (see BACKGROUND).

BACKGROUND

Electronic Recording of Land Records

By law, when any town clerk has recorded any instrument that the town clerk knows to be a release, partial release, or assignment of a mortgage or lien recorded on the town's land records, he or she must make a notation on the first page where the mortgage or lien is recorded, stating the book and page where the release, partial release, or assignment is recorded. But a 2007 public act eliminates the requirement for a manual notation of the release, partial release, or assignment if the town clerk provides public access to an electronic indexing system that combines the grantor index and the grantee index of the town's land records. That act also requires that by January 1, 2009, each town must provide public access to an electronic indexing system (CGS 7-25a, and 7-29).

Purchaser's Lien

A purchaser's lien is created for the amount of the deposit paid and stated in a real estate contract by the recording of the contract, or a notice of it, in the records of the town where the land is situated. The lien has priority over any other liens and encumbrances originating after the contract or notice is recorded. A purchaser's lien may be foreclosed in the same manner as a mortgage. Transfer of title of the land to the purchaser constitutes a release and discharge of the lien (CGS 49-92a).

Lis Pendens

A lis pendens is a notice filed in the land records that advises that (1) a lawsuit is pending against the owner of the designated property, (2) it involves that property, and (3) it takes priority over any subsequent conveyance of it.

OLR Tracking: GC: KS: JL: DF