Do I need to pay to obtain a copy of the deed to my home in New York City?

A client of mine recently received a letter from a company offering to obtain for her, for a fee, a copy of the newly recorded deed to her house.  My client had previously asked me to add her son as a joint owner of her home which involved my preparing and recording the deed in question with the City Register of Queens County.

Mailings from companies offering to obtain copies of documents for a fee are not uncommon.  Companies, such as the one soliciting my client, routinely check local property recording offices and offer their document retrieval services to homeowners who have had recently recorded deeds. Apparently the recording of my client’s deed resulted in her receiving  this offer.

My client called me upon receiving the letter and asked me whether she needed to pay this company to obtain a copy of her recorded deed. I explained to my client that once a deed is recorded, that is, incorporated into the public land records, it can be viewed by the public, without charge.  A copy of the recorded deed can be viewed on-line using New York City’s Automated City Registers Information System, commonly referred to as ACRIS. The deed can be downloaded as a PDF file and then printed.

As I discussed in an earlier post, a deed is recorded, you do not need the original deed or even a copy of the deed in order to sell or mortgage your home. If you do want a copy of your deed, there is no reason to pay someone to obtain it.

About George H. Dippel, Attorney at Law

George H. Dippel has been practicing law for over 30 years. He is a graduate of Cornell Law School and a former partner at the law firm of Rivkin Radler in their real estate/banking department. Mr. Dippel opened his own law offices in 1993 in Bayside, Queens, New York. Mr. Dippel has assisted thousands of clients throughout Queens, Brooklyn, The Bronx, Manhattan, Staten Island, Long Island and Westchester with their wills, probate, trusts, real estate and business matters. In addition to practicing law, Mr. Dippel has taught real estate courses in Long Island University’s paralegal program. He is also a licensed real estate instructor and has taught real estate licensing courses in the New York Metropolitan area. Mr. Dippel is admitted to practice in all New York State Courts and the Federal Eastern and Southern District Courts.
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