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4. Deeds, liens, foreclosures, title history

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  • Alabama

    Probate records are free for examination of all persons when not in use by the judge.  Ala. Code § 12-13-50.

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  • Alaska

    Recorders shall permit memoranda, transcripts, and copies of the public records in their offices to be made by photography or otherwise for the purpose of examining titles to real estate described in the public records, making abstracts of title or guaranteeing or insuring the titles of the real estate, or building and maintaining title and abstract plants, subject to reasonable rules and regulations as are necessary for the protection of the records and to prevent interference with the regular discharge of the duties of the recorders and their employees. AS 44.25.120(c).

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  • Arizona

    (This section is blank. See the point above.)

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  • Arkansas

    Deeds to state property are filed in the office of the Commissioner of State Lands and are considered public records. Ark. Code Ann. § 22-5-411. Liens on real property are public records once they are filed. Ark. Code Ann. § 18-40-102.
    Although a county clerk does not have to perform a lien search under the FOIA, such records must be made available for citizens to inspect. Ark. Op. Att’y Gen. No. 90-261.

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  • Connecticut

    (This section is blank. See the point above.)

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  • Delaware

    (This section is blank. See the point above.)

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  • Georgia

    Deeds, liens, etc. are subject to the Act’s disclosure requirements.  The Georgia Superior Court Clerks’ Cooperative Authority maintains searchable online databases of such records.

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  • Hawaii

    Personal information contained in the Department of Land and Natural Resources, Land Division (“DLNR”) land records that carry a significant privacy interest, such as social security numbers, home addresses, and telephone numbers, ethnicity, and dates of birth, may generally be redacted under the UIPA’s privacy exception. There generally is no public interest in disclosure of this type of information that would outweigh the privacy interest in such information. Certain other records or information in which individuals may have a significant privacy interest must be disclosed, however, where those records or information shed light on DLNR’s functions, such as its duty ensuring the genealogy of land owners and transferees. DLNR may, prior to disclosure, redact all information contained in the vital records except that information necessary to establish genealogy for purposes of DLNR’s functions. Personal Information and Vital Records in Land Records, OIP Op. Ltr. No. 07-07 (Apr. 18, 2007).

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  • Idaho

    Certain records of the Idaho Housing and Finance Association are exempt from disclosure under Idaho Code § 74-106(20).  In addition, certain sale or purchase records and mortgage portfolio loan documents required to be submitted to or inspected by a public agency are exempt from disclosure under Idaho Code § 74-107(2).

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  • Indiana

    The Access to Public Records Act does not specifically address deeds, liens, foreclosures or title histories. Deeds and liens are filed with the county recorder’s office for the county in which the property is located, and thus would be subject to public access under the general provisions of the Act. Foreclosure records are available from the court in which the foreclosure is pending.

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  • Iowa

    Public information available in the office of the County Recorder.

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  • Kansas

    Deeds, liens and foreclosure history are public records subject to disclosure. Data Tree, LLC v. Meek, 109 P.3d 1226, 279 Kan. 445 (2005).

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  • Louisiana

    No specific provision, but real estate deeds, liens, foreclosures, title history should be treated as a public record and should be produced to a requester absent an applicable exemption, if they otherwise fall within the definition of “public record.”

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  • Maine

    Registry of deeds records are generally subject to particular statutes governing access and fees.  See MacImage of Me., LLC v. Androscoggin Cty, 2012 ME 44, 40 A.3d 975.  Any record filed with a registry of deeds is available for public inspection and copying.  33 M.R.S.A. §§ 651, 751.  The fees for copying these records are not limited by the FOAA and are, rather, set by statutes that apply exclusively to the registry of deeds.  Id.  Individuals may request that personal information (e.g., social security numbers) be removed from registry records.  Id. § 651-B.

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  • Maryland

    Generally, title information, previous ownership, assessed values and other information pertaining to real property is also available through Maryland's State Department of Assessments and Taxation website. Specific deed and encumbrance information is available through the county land records division in which the property is located or on the Internet at mdlandrec.net.

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  • Massachusetts

    A municipal assessor’s list of tax delinquents is public record.  Attorney Gen. v. Collector of Lynn, 377 Mass. 151, 157-58, 385 N.E.2d 505, 509 (1979).  So are names of taxpayers, descriptions of their property, and valuations of the property. Id., citing Hardman v. Collector of Taxes of North Adams, 317 Mass. 439, 443, 58 N.E.2d 848 (1945). For a fee, anyone can obtain “a certificate itemizing all amounts payable on account of tax liens on a piece of property.” Attorney Gen. v. Collector of Lynn, supra, citing G.L. c. 60, §§ 23, 23A.

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  • Michigan

    Names and addresses of those involved in the conveyance of real property are open to public inspection in the Office of the Register of Deeds.  Mich. Comp. Laws 565.25.  Mich. Comp. Laws 600.2567 provides that a register of deeds is entitled to a fee of $1 per page of any copies of any records of papers.  The Inspection of Records Act (IORA)  allows the register of deeds to provide paper copies in response to a request for a copy of the records, even if the register keeps the original records on microfilm.  See Lapeer County, supra.

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  • Minnesota

    These data are public, if filed with the relevant county office. See generally Minn. Stat. § 13.03.

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  • Nebraska

    Are public records.

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  • Nevada

    There is no statutory or case law addressing the issue

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  • New Hampshire

    These records are available in public county registries of deeds.

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  • New Jersey

    These records are “government records” as defined by OPRA.

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  • New Mexico

    There are no exceptions for deeds, liens, foreclosures and title history under NMSA 1978 § 14-2-1.  In addition, the commissioner of public lands must provide copies of any records kept by the state land office when requested. NMSA 1978 § 19-1-21.

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  • Ohio

    Recorded instruments such as deeds and mortgages are public records. State ex rel. Data Trace Info. Servs., L.L.C. v. Cuyahoga Cty. Fiscal Officer, 131 Ohio St. 3d 255, 263, 963 N.E.2d 1288, 1297, 2012-Ohio-753, ¶ 41(written instruments electronically filed with County recorder are subject to Public Records Act); See also Lorain County Title Co. v. Essex, 53 Ohio App.2d 274, 373 N.E.2d 1261 (Ohio Ct. App. 1976) (holding that microfilm copies of such records were public records because “the information contained on [the] film is from public records.”).

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  • Oklahoma

    Deeds. liens, foreclosures and title histories are maintained with the County Clerk and are open for public inspection.

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  • Oregon

    There is no statutory or case law specifically addressing this issue.

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  • Pennsylvania

    Under the old Act, deeds and mortgages to which the agency is not a party are not public records. See, e.g., Inkpen v. Roberts, 862 A.2d 700 (Pa. Commw. Ct. 2004). However, under Inkpen, the requesting party bore the burden of proving that the record was a public record. Id. Under the new law, deeds and mortgages are presumptively accessible.

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  • Rhode Island

    There is no statutory or case law addressing this issue.

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  • South Carolina

    Deeds, liens, mortgages and similar instruments conveying an estate or creating an interest must be filed to be valid.  Since notice is the object of the filing, these records are public.  S.C. Code Ann. § 30-7-10.

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  • Tennessee

    Generally open.

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  • Texas

    Not specifically addressed.

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  • Utah

    Not addressed.

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  • Vermont

    All deeds, contracts of sale, leases, and other documents or copies of same conveying land or an interest therein to the state, except for transportation rights-of-way, leases, and conveyances, shall be filed in the office of the secretary of state. 3 V.S.A. § 103(a).

    All deeds, contracts of sale, leases, and other documents conveying land or an interest in land from the state as grantor, except for transportation rights-of-way, leases, and conveyances, shall be made out in duplicate by the authorized agent of the state. The original shall be delivered to the grantee and the duplicate copy, so marked, shall be filed in the office of the secretary of state. 3 V.S.A. § 103(b).

    For individuals, recorded deeds, mortgage documents, easements, liens, powers of attorney, and other document recordings are managed by the Town Clerk in each Vermont township. Few townships provide online access.

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  • Virginia

    Such records are presumed open when in the possession of a public body subject to the Act. Access to such records when located in the Office of a Clerk of a Virginia circuit court are open pursuant to Va. Code Ann. § 17.1-208.

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  • Washington

    No specific authority.  See section on Appraisals.

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  • West Virginia

    (This section is blank. See the point above.)

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