Having come to a dead-end searching on the net for an answer to this question, I was wondering if the friendly folks at WHT can give me an answer.
Basically if the deeds of a property were misplaced, what is the maximum amount of harm that could be caused if they ended up in the wrong hands? (no I haven't lost the deeds to my house, office or studio before anyone asks!)
So if there's any legal eagles that can answer my question, I gracefully await your answer.
In the "olden" days you would of been, lets just say ruined. But now a days if you did "misplace" the deeds it wouldn't matter so much. You would probably have to provide bills for the last year etc (with the address on it). And you would probably have to pay a huge fine
enough with the "you'd be ruined" and "you'll have to pay a big fine"... I haven't lost my deeds. Sheesh!
By the way, thanks Darth, I just needed to double-check for a hysterical friend of mine, who's going through a tough time, she just needed a bit of reassurance. In turns out, she hasn't lost the deeds, which is a relief
Deeds are generally "recorded" with a Clerk of Court Office or something similar. That is why if someone signs a deed over to you, always make sure you get it properly recorded. Otherwise, as far as official records, you are not recorded as the owner.
Glad this all worked out. Could have been a pain, but the reality is she would not have lost the property.
No big fines, no being ruined. Property (in NY) in order to change hands must go through a longer process than most other places. You can not simply go to DoH and the DHPD. Title companies and research companies must be involved, your first and second party lenders usually have their own title underwriters. Every sheet of paper is notarized. Nothing gets submitted to the DoH until everyone agrees. We have pretty much gotten rid of deeds in favor of a 100% electronic system that will track ownership, leins, etc as well as taxes, so it intergrates nicely with the DoF.
Nassau and Westchester are all computerized, though Suffolk is ahead of them in leads and bounds.
In other places, especailly very rural places, all you need to do is have the new owner and current owner head on down to teh Town Hall and sign it over and its done. Problems can arrise than, but things still must be notarized to prevent these sorts of fraud.
Sometimes there are fees for replacement deeds, just like other gov't documents, but its usually small, probably around $50 or so.