A client of Azrael Franz recently contacted attorney Paul Schwab about a letter she received after changing the title to her property. The official-looking letter pictured below instructed her to complete an order form and return it in a postage pre-paid envelope with $95 to obtain a certified copy of her deed.
These letters that at first blush look like an invoice from the government have been mailed to Maryland homeowners. They attempt to get homeowners to pay $95 or more for a copy of their real estate deed or property profile. Buzzwords like “U.S. Government,” “official,” and “certified copy” may be used to try and compel homeowners to pay the fee.
Companies sending these mailings count on homeowners being unaware of how and where they can get a copy of their deed. Your county land records will make a copy of your deed for just a few dollars. Copies of most deeds in Maryland can also be obtained free of charge online at mdlandrec.net. There is no need in most cases to pay a private company for this service.
If you receive the original deed from the attorney, title company or land records, make a paper and/or electronic copy for your records and keep the original in a safe place with your other important documents. If you lose or misplace the original deed, you can in addition to the ways mentioned above contact the attorney or title company for a copy or obtain a certified copy from the appropriate land records at a cost in most cases of less than $25.00.
If you are ever unsure about a suspicious letter or bill, contact your attorney. We are here to help.