MA Real Estate Law: Municipal Lien Certificates

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If you’re buying a home in Massachusetts, your attorney will most likely get a document known as a municipal lien certificate (MLC) from the city or town’s tax collector prior to the closing.

According to M.G.L. c. 60, section 23, MLC must show “the amounts then payable on account of all such taxes and assessments” that affect the property you are purchasing.

The document is the only reliable way to confirm the correct amounts owed to the tax collector for municipal fees.

By paying the fees shown on the MLC and recording the document at the registry of deeds (which costs $85) the new homebuyer can “discharge the parcel of real estate specified from the liens for all taxes, assessments, or portions thereof.”

A tax collector has ten days to provide the MLC after receiving a request for the document. Collectors usually charge between $25 and $50 for the service. An MLC is good for 60 days.

Need legal help? Email justin@jrmccarthy.com

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