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The Ohio House Sneaks a Massive Recording Fee Increase into the New Budget Bill
by Robert Franco | 2017/04/25 |

It was kept relatively quiet, though rumors have been circulating for a few weeks. Today the Ohio House of Representatives introduced a substitute budget bill that includes a massive increase in recording fees. Some documents will cost more than double if this version of the budget passes.  

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Currently, recording documents with the county recorder's office costs $28.00 for the first two pages, and $8.00 for each additional page. Half of that is a "base fee" and the other half is a "housing trust fund fee."  So, a typical 2-page deed costs $28.00; and a 17-page mortgage costs $148.00.  The fees are similar for other documents, such as leases, assignments, satisfactions, etc.

Under the proposed changes to the budget bill, most documents will be a flat fee of $70.00. Mortgages will be $200.00, as will be assignments of rents.  Marginal notations, which the new budget calls a "reference regarding a recorded instrument," will go up from $4.00 to $10.00.  Half of the new fees will still go toward the housing trust fund fee.  

Not all documents will be affected by the increase.  An instrument "that conveys or affects an interest in utilities, minerals, crude oil, or natural gas, will remain the same -- $28.00 for the first two pages plus $8.00 for each additional page.  

And, thank goodness, the statutory copy fee of $2.00 per page is not going up.  

Obviously, this will make real estate transactions more expensive.  For example, if a sale includes a 2-page deed, a 17-page first mortgage, a 2-page second mortgage (using the statutory form), a 2-page assignment of mortgage, and a 2-page release of the seller's mortgage, the total recording fees today would be $268.00 (including 2 marginal notations). Under the new fee structure it would cost $630.00 (with 2 references regarding a recorded instrument).

Something to watch out for -- if a title company has collected $32.00 for a release and it's waiting for the lender to sign and return it, the cost might actually be $80.00 ($70.00 to record it, and $10.00 for the reference) by time it's received.  One or two of those might not be too bad, but what if that same title company has ten or twenty files that are awaiting releases? 

One justification for the fee increase may be the TILA-RESPA Integrated Disclosure (TRID) rules. Lenders and title companies are required to be much more precise with the fees on the Loan Estimate. Recording fees can't be off by more than 10% from the Loan Estimate to the Closing Disclosure. If the settlement agent has to guess at the number of pages to calculate a fee, it's much more likely that a very long legal description will throw everything off.  If the number of pages isn't a factor, it's easier for lenders to avoid liability under TRID rules.  

I guess there is some benefit to the easy-to-calculate fees -- even though they are most certainly going to cost consumers more money.  But, what about all of the transactions that don't involve TRID, or don't involve real estate closings at all.  For example, a simple survivorship deed for a newly married couple will cost the newlyweds $42.00 more.  If I prepare a simple easement for a driveway encroachment, it's going to cost more to record it. Same with an affidavit to transfer survivorship property to a surviving spouse, or an affidavit of facts to correct a marital status. 

As I mentioned, this is a massive fee increase. Who pushed this through?  And why was it kept so quiet?  I'm of the opinion that if you have to sneak something like this through it's probably something that you shouldn't be doing.  

What do you think?  Is the convenience worth the higher fees?   


Update:  This blog was updated to correct the new mortgage recording fee which will be a flat fee of $200.00.


Categories: Ohio Legislation, Public Records, Title Industry

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Source of Title Blog

Robert A. FrancoThe focus of this blog will be on sharing my thoughts and concerns related to the small title agents and abstractors. The industry has changed dramatically over the past ten years and I believe that we are just seeing the beginning. As the evolution continues, what will become of the many small independent title professionals who have long been the cornerstone of the industry?

Robert A. Franco



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