TITLE XLVIII
CONVEYANCES AND MORTGAGES OF REALTY

Chapter 478
REGISTERS OF DEEDS

Section 478:1

    478:1 Duties. – The register of deeds shall carefully keep in the office provided by the county at all times, except when he may be required by a court to produce them as evidence or when the same may be removed for the purposes of repair, all books, records, files and papers belonging thereto, and when not in use shall keep them in a safe location where their protection from fire, theft, water and the elements is insured, and he shall permit no paper there deposited for record to be taken from his office before it is recorded. Whenever any of the volumes of records in his office shall be in need of repair, he shall seasonably cause them to be suitably repaired at the expense of the county, and, if necessary, he may allow such volumes to be taken out of his office for a reasonable time for that purpose.

Source. RS 22:4. CS 23:4. GS 26:3. GL 23:15; 27:3. PS 29:1. 1911, 80:1. PL 40:1. RL 49:1. RSA 478:1. 1975, 149:2, eff. May 26, 1975.

Section 478:1-a

    478:1-a Recording of Plats. –
I. No register of deeds shall file or record a plat of a subdivision, or a plat prepared for the purpose of showing existing property lines, if such plat has not been prepared and certified by a licensed land surveyor, since July 1, 1981, or by a registered land surveyor between January 1, 1970 and June 30, 1981, and any such filing or recording shall be void. For the purposes of this section the definition of the word "subdivision" shall be that contained in RSA 672:14. A "plat" for the purpose of this section shall be a map of a specific land area whose boundaries are defined by metes and bounds. A plat may show:
(a) Newly created parcels, streets, alleys, and easements as in a subdivision; or
(b) A lot-line-adjustment or site plan depicting existing parcels defined by legal descriptions contained in deeds, grants, or other legal documents.
II. Each register of deeds shall establish a policy for providing adequate space, on the plat, for recording the registry plan number and recording information.
III. The register of deeds shall refuse for recording any map that does not meet the definition of a plat under paragraph I and any plat that does not contain the information or meet the specifications required by this section. Construction plans, construction details, and maps that do not define the limits or extent of legal rights or interest in land shall not be recorded.
IV. All plats shall be drawn with the following sizes: 8.5' x 11,' 11' x 17,' 17' x 22,' 22' x 34,' or such specifications and sizes as may be required by the register of deeds. The material composition of the plats shall be suitable for electronic scanning and archiving by the register of deeds.
V. All plats shall have a minimum of 1/2 inch margins on all sides.
VI. All text and dimensions shall be legible for reproduction, and the text sizes shall be no smaller than .08 of an inch for mechanical drafting and 1/8 inch for hand drafting.
VII. All certifications, seals, and approval blocks shall have original dates and signatures in a legible, permanent black ink.
VIII. All title blocks shall be located in the lower right hand corner, when possible, and shall indicate the following:
(a) Type of survey, such as a boundary survey, subdivision, American Land Title Association (ALTA) survey, or lot line adjustment.
(b) Owner of record.
(c) Title of plat or development.
(d) Tax map number.
(e) Name of the town in which the parcel is located.
(f) Plat and revision dates.
IX. All plats shall have a scale both as a written and graphic representation.
X. All plats shall have a north arrow with reference to magnetic grid or astronomic north, as applicable. The north arrow shall be labeled with its reference direction.
XI. Shading over any text shall not be permitted on any plat. Cross hatching or other hatching at a scale large enough not to interfere with text legibility, before and after reproduction, may be permitted.
XII. No lines, whether hatching, boundary lines, or topographic contours shall obstruct or interfere with the legibility, either before or after reproduction, of any bearings, dimensions, or text.
XIII. The minimum line widths on plats shall not be smaller than .01 inches.

Source. 1988, 233:3. 1995, 303:1. 2004, 103:1, eff. Jan. 1, 2005.

Section 478:2

    478:2 Deputy Registers. – Registers of deeds may appoint deputies to perform the duties of their offices in cases of sickness or the temporary absence of the officer making the appointment. The appointment shall be made in writing, shall be approved by the bondsmen of the officer appointing and by the county commissioners, and shall be for a length of time not exceeding 2 years. The register of deeds shall be held responsible for any neglect or official misconduct of his deputies. The deputy shall be qualified in the same manner as the officer appointing him. The salaries of the deputies shall be paid by the county.

Source. 1881, 44:1; 45:1. PS 25:9. 1911, 124:1. PL 36:10. RL 45:11. RSA 478:2. 1979, 376:4. 1981, 244:1. 1983, 262:3, eff. Aug. 17, 1983.

Section 478:2-a

    478:2-a Assistants. – The register of deeds may employ individuals to assist him in the performance of his official duties. The salaries of the assistants and any other expenses of the office of register of deeds shall be paid by the county.

Source. 1957, 92:1. 1981, 244:2. 1983, 262:4, eff. Aug. 17, 1983.

Section 478:3

    478:3 Disability of Register. – When the register, by reason of sickness, absence, or other cause, is disabled from executing the duties of his office, his deputy shall execute the same until such disability is removed or a register is chosen in accordance with the provisions of RSA 661:9.

Source. 1907, 88:2. PL 36:12. RL 45:13.

Section 478:4

    478:4 Recording. – The register of deeds shall receive, file and record for the legal charges all original deeds and instruments brought for that purpose, and shall furnish certificates or copies thereof when required. All documents submitted for recording in each registry of deeds should be on material with markings and of a size to insure suitable, permanent recording thereof.

Source. RS 22:5. CS 23:5. GS 26:4. GL 27:4. PS 29:2. PL 40:2. RL 49:2. RSA 478:4. 1971, 449:1, eff. Aug. 29, 1971.

Section 478:4-a

    478:4-a Form of Records. –
I. The register of deeds shall not accept a deed or instrument for filing and recording unless it recites the following information:
(a) The latest mailing address of the grantees named in the deed or instrument;
(b) In the first sentence of the first description paragraph, the names of all municipalities in which the property is located;
(c) The name of each person signing the deed or instrument as a party to the transaction printed or typewritten under the signature.
II. All documents shall be suitable for reproduction as determined by the register of deeds, who shall provide document standards as amended and adopted by the New Hampshire registers of deeds. The standards and any amendments thereto shall include a statement of their effective date, and shall be posted in and distributed by all registries of deeds for at least 60 days prior to such effective date.

Source. 1975, 484:1. 1989, 154:1. 2001, 260:20, eff. Sept. 11, 2001.

Section 478:4-b

    478:4-b Records; Social Security Numbers and Financial Information. –
I. The preparer of a document shall not include an individual's social security number, armed forces service number, credit card number, or deposit account numbers in a document that is prepared and presented for recording in the office of the register of deeds. This paragraph shall not apply to state or federal tax liens and certified copies of death certificates filed or recorded in the office of the register of deeds. For the purpose of this section, " preparer " shall mean the person who drafts the documents that are recorded with the register of deeds. Preparer shall not include any person who hires, requires, refers, pays, or requests that the documents be drafted or recorded.
II. If a deed or instrument that includes an individual's social security number, armed forces service number, credit card number, or deposit account numbers, was filed with the register of deeds and is available on the Internet, and if the information is discovered by the register of deeds in the ordinary course of business after the effective date of this section, the register of deeds shall redact such information from the Internet record. The register of deeds shall also establish a procedure by which individuals may request that such information be redacted from its files which are available on the Internet. Upon request, the information shall be redacted.
III. The register of deeds shall comply with an individual's request to redact his or her social security number, armed forces service number, credit card number, or deposit account numbers within 5 business days of the receipt of the request, or sooner, if ordered to do so by a court, for good cause shown.

Source. 2006, 221:7. 2009, 69:1, eff. Aug. 8, 2009. 2013, 147:1, eff. Aug. 27, 2013.

Section 478:4-c

    478:4-c Violation; Enforcement. –
An individual aggrieved by a violation of RSA 478:4-b, I may bring against the preparer:
I. An action to enjoin such violation.
II. An action to recover actual monetary loss from such a violation, or to receive up to $1,000 in damages for each such violation, whichever is greater.
III. Both such actions.

Source. 2006, 221:7, eff. Mar. 1, 2007.

Section 478:5

    478:5 Record; Index. – Upon acceptance of any deed or instrument for recording, the register of deeds shall enter into the index of the grantors the names of the grantors-to-grantees and into the index of the grantees the names of the grantees-to-grantors.

Source. RS 22:7. CS 23:7. GS 26:5. GL 27:5. PS 29:3. PL 40:3. RL 49:3. RSA 478:5. 1969, 492:2. 1990, 183:1. 2004, 60:1. 2008, 322:6, eff. Aug. 31, 2008.

Section 478:6

    478:6 Index Reproduction. – The register of deeds may cause the indexes to be reproduced into indexes of grantors and grantees using an acceptable recording method.

Source. RS 22:6. CS 23:6. GS 26:6. GL 27:6. PS 29:4. PL 40:4. RL 49:4. 2008, 322:6, eff. Aug. 31, 2008.

Section 478:7

    478:7 Levy; Extent. – The names of the debtors or defendants upon whose land any levy or extent shall be made, if the same is recorded, shall be entered as such in the index of grantors, and the names of the creditors or plaintiffs, as such, in the index of the grantees.

Source. GS 26:7. GL 27:7. PS 29:5. PL 40:5. RL 49:5. 2008, 322:7, eff. Aug. 31, 2008.

Section 478:8

    478:8 Conveyance by Authority. – When the property of any person living or the estate of any person deceased is conveyed by any officer or other person by authority of law or otherwise, the names of the persons whose estate is so conveyed, if they appear in the instrument, and of the persons by whom the conveyance is made shall be entered in the index of grantors.

Source. GS 26:8. GL 27:8. PS 29:6. PL 40:6. RL 49:6. 2008, 322:7, eff. Aug. 31, 2008.

Section 478:9

    478:9 Estates Affected. – The names of all persons whose estates appear to be affected by any deed or decree of partition entered on such record shall be entered in the indexes of grantors and grantees.

Source. GS 26:9. GL 27:9. PS 29:7. PL 40:7. RL 49:7. 2008, 322:7, eff. Aug. 31, 2008.

Section 478:10

    478:10 Creditors; Mortgagees. – The names of the creditors in any proceeding for foreclosure and the names of the original mortgagees, if they appear by the proceedings, shall be entered, as such, in the index of grantees; and the names of the debtor, defendant and original mortgagors, if they appear, shall be entered in the index of grantors.

Source. GS 26:10. GL 27:10. PS 29:8. PL 40:8. RL 49:8. 2008, 322:7, eff. Aug. 31, 2008.

Section 478:11

    478:11 Parties Unknown. – If the name of the person whose property or estate is conveyed in either of the cases aforesaid does not appear, or if the name of the original mortgagor or mortgagee of property foreclosed does not appear, the grantors or mortgagors shall be referred to as unknown in the index of grantors under the letter U, and the original mortgagee in the same manner in the index of grantees.

Source. GS 26:11. GL 27:11. PS 29:9. PL 40:9. RL 49:9. 2008, 322:7, eff. Aug. 31, 2008.

Section 478:12

    478:12 Repealed by 2008, 322:12, IV, eff. Aug. 31, 2008. –

Section 478:13

    478:13 Office Hours. – Every register shall keep his or her office open daily except Sundays and state holidays. It may be closed on Saturday if not incompatible with public business; provided, however, that the register may keep his or her office open on Saturday mornings in the custody of a single custodian whenever he or she deems it necessary.

Source. GL 23:15. PS 29:11. 1903, 92:1. PL 40:11. RL 49:11. 1947, 234:1. 1951, 91:1. RSA 478:13. 1981, 244:3. 2008, 322:8, eff. Aug. 31, 2008.

Section 478:13-a

    478:13-a Repealed by 2004, 103:2, eff. Jan. 1, 2005. –

Section 478:14

    478:14 Copies of Conveyances for Tax Purposes. – Every register shall, upon request, in an acceptable media, send copies of all deeds, mortgages, and other conveyances of real estate which have been recorded in the registry during the preceding 3 months to the selectmen of each town and to the assessors of each city in his county quarterly, each year, between January 1 and January 5, April 1 and April 5, July 1 and July 5, and October 1 and October 5. The register shall send, between April 1 and April 5, in an acceptable media, copies of all deeds, mortgages, and other conveyances of real estate which have been recorded in the registry during the preceding tax year to every town and city in the county which did not request the quarterly copies.

Source. 1935, 57:1. RL 49:12. 1949, 255:1. RSA 478:14. 1955, 80:1. 1979, 222:1. 1981, 244:4. 2008, 322:9, eff. Aug. 31, 2008.

Section 478:15

    478:15 Repealed by 1981, 244:7, eff. Aug. 10, 1981. –

Section 478:16

    478:16 Penalty for Neglect of Duty. – If the register shall neglect any duty imposed by this chapter, he shall forfeit $20 to be recovered by an action of debt in the name of the treasurer for the use of the county, and shall also be liable to an action on his bond.

Source. RS 22:8. CS 23:8. GS 26:13. GL 27:13. PS 29:12. PL 40:12. RL 49:14.

Section 478:17

    478:17 Repealed by 1977, 89:10, eff. March 1983. –

Section 478:17-a

    478:17-a Repealed by 1973, 217:2, I, eff. Aug. 11, 1973. –

Section 478:17-b

    478:17-b Repealed by 1973, 217:2, II, eff. Aug. 11, 1973. –

Section 478:17-c

    478:17-c Repealed by 1973, 217:2, III, eff. Aug. 11, 1973. –

Section 478:17-d

    478:17-d Repealed by 1973, 217:2, IV, eff. Aug. 11, 1973. –

Section 478:17-e

    478:17-e Repealed by 1973, 217:2, V, eff. Aug. 11, 1973. –

Section 478:17-f

    478:17-f Repealed by 1983, 262:5, eff. Aug. 17, 1983. –

Section 478:17-g

    478:17-g Recording Fees and Surcharge. –
Unless otherwise specified, the register of deeds in each county shall be entitled to the following fees and shall collect the land and community heritage investment program surcharge as follows:
I. The charge for recording each document shall be $10 for the first recorded page plus $4 for each additional recorded page. The charge for assignments of mortgages shall be $10 for the first recorded page, including the first mortgage assigned, plus $5 for each additional mortgage assigned plus $4 for each additional recorded page. The charge for recording a discharge of a mortgage, a release of a lien, or filings pursuant to RSA 21-J, RSA 260, RSA 282-A, RSA 382-A, RSA 439, RSA 450, RSA 454-B, RSA 498, RSA 511, or RSA 511-A shall be $15 for the first recorded page plus $4 for each additional recorded page. The charge for recording each plan shall be $9 for the first 200 square inches or portion thereof and $2.50 for each additional 100 square inches or portion thereof. The charges provided for herein shall include the register's responsibility to provide information in compliance with RSA 478:14.
II. (a) An additional charge of $25 shall also be assessed for recording each deed, mortgage, mortgage discharge or plan, but shall not be assessed for the recording of any other document. The charge provided for herein shall be paid by the grantee in a deed, the grantor in a mortgage, the person or entity discharging a mortgage in the case of a discharge, and the primary owner of property shown on a plan. The charge provided for in this section shall not be assessed for the recording of any documents in which the United States or any instrumentality thereof, the state, a state agency, a county, a municipality, a village district, or a school district is a party.
(b) The collection of the assessment provided for by this section shall be administered by the commissioner of the department of revenue administration, and all powers and duties available to the commissioner to enforce and administer laws under RSA 21-J and RSA 78-B shall apply to the administration and enforcement of this paragraph. The commissioner may adopt rules, pursuant to RSA 541-A, relative to the administration of this paragraph. Each register of deeds shall retain 4 percent of the total additional charges collected as payment for the service of collecting the additional charges, which shall be deducted prior to remitting the revenue collected.
(c) Each register of deeds shall remit the additional charges collected under subparagraph (a) to the department of revenue administration monthly or more often. All funds received shall be paid over to the state treasurer for deposit in the trust fund for the land and community heritage investment program established under RSA 227-M:7.
(d) The payment of the additional charge imposed by subparagraph (a) shall be evidenced by indicia as approved by the commissioner of the department of revenue administration, attached to the recorded instrument.
III. For copying any document or providing any other service, the charge shall be established and posted by the register of deeds.

Source. 1973, 217:1. 1977, 89:1. 1981, 244:5. 1983, 185:1. 1986, 36:1. 1987, 115:1. 1989, 154:2. 1990, 3:29. 1998, 382:11. 2000, 262:12. 2001, 102:45. 2007, 263:45, 48. 2008, 294:7, eff. July 1, 2008 at 12:01 a.m. 2018, 171:7, eff. July 1, 2018.

Section 478:17-h

    478:17-h Repealed by 1983, 262:6, eff. Aug. 17, 1983. –

Section 478:17-i

    478:17-i Distribution. – Each register of deeds shall pay over once a month to his county treasurer, for use of the county, all fees received by him as such register and all charges paid to him for services arising out of or because of his office, including but not limited to payments for duties under RSA 78-B:8.

Source. 1973, 415:2. 1981, 244:6. 1983, 262:7, eff. Aug. 17, 1983.

Section 478:17-j

    478:17-j Register of Deeds Equipment Account. –
I. The provisions of this section shall apply in a county only after they have been approved by a majority vote of both the county commissioners and the county convention.
II. (a) There is hereby established in the county treasury a register of deeds equipment account. If the county commissioners and the county convention vote to adopt the provisions of this section, the register of deeds shall impose a surcharge not to exceed $2, the exact amount of which shall be set by the register, for recording each document for which the register of deeds imposes a fee under RSA 478:17-g. The surcharge shall be on a per document, and not on a per page basis. After the surcharge is adopted, it shall take effect on the first day of January following the annual budget acceptance by the county convention. Each register of deeds shall provide reasonable public notice that a surcharge shall be imposed along with the exact amount of the surcharge, at least 60 days prior to the date on which the surcharge takes effect.
(b) Once each month, the register of deeds shall pay over to the county treasurer all surcharges paid to the register. All surcharges received by the county treasurer shall be deposited in the register of deeds equipment account.
(c) The register of deeds equipment account shall be a separate, nonlapsing account, and the moneys in the account shall not be available for use as general revenue of the county. All interest earned on the account shall be credited to the equipment account. The moneys in the account shall be appropriated only for the use of the office of the register of deeds, and any such appropriation shall require prior approval by a majority vote of both the county commissioners and the county convention. Moneys in the account may only be used for the purchase, rental, or repair of equipment.
III. The register of deeds shall not impose the surcharge, which shall not exceed $2 as provided in paragraph II, whenever the moneys in the equipment account exceed $500,000.

Source. 1993, 175:1, eff. Aug. 8, 1993.

Register for Strafford County

Section 478:18

    478:18 Repealed by 1971, 514:18, XXII, eff. Jan. 1, 1973. –

Section 478:18-a

    478:18-a Repealed by 1981, 244:7, I, eff. Aug. 10, 1981. –

Section 478:18-b

    478:18-b Repealed by 1981, 244:7, II, eff. Aug. 10, 1981. –

Section 478:18-c

    478:18-c Repealed by 1973, 217:2, VI, eff. Aug. 11, 1973. –

Register for Rockingham County

Section 478:19

    478:19 Repealed by 1971, 514:18, XXIII, eff. Jan. 1, 1973. –

Section 478:20

    478:20 Repealed by 1981, 244:7, III, eff. Aug. 10, 1981. –

Section 478:21

    478:21 Repealed by 1981, 244:7, IV, eff. Aug. 10, 1981. –

Register for Grafton County

Section 478:22

    478:22 Repealed by 1971, 514:18, XXIV, eff. Jan. 1, 1973. –

Section 478:23

    478:23 Repealed by 1981, 244:7, V, eff. Aug. 10, 1981. –

Section 478:24

    478:24 Repealed by 1981, 244:7, VI, eff. Aug. 10, 1981. –

Register for Merrimack County

Section 478:25

    478:25 Repealed by 1973, 217:2, VII, eff. Aug. 11, 1973. –

Section 478:26

    478:26 Repealed by 1981, 244:7, VII, eff. Aug. 10, 1981. –

Section 478:27

    478:27 Repealed by 1971, 514:18, XXV, eff. Jan. 1, 1973. –

Section 478:28

    478:28 Repealed by 1981, 244:7, VIII, eff. Aug. 10, 1981. –

Register for Belknap County

Section 478:29

    478:29 Repealed by 1981, 244:7, IX, eff. Aug. 10, 1981. –

Section 478:30

    478:30 Repealed by 1971, 514:18, XXVI, eff. Jan. 1, 1973. –

Section 478:31

    478:31 Repealed by 1981, 244:7, X, eff. Aug. 10, 1981. –

Register for Cheshire County

Section 478:32

    478:32 Repealed by 1971, 514:18, XXVII, eff. Jan. 1, 1973. –

Section 478:33

    478:33 Repealed by 1981, 244:7, XI, eff. Aug. 10, 1981. –

Section 478:34

    478:34 Repealed by 1981, 244:7, XII, eff. Aug. 10, 1981. –

Register for Sullivan County

Section 478:35

    478:35 Repealed by 1981, 244:7, XIII, eff. Aug. 10, 1981. –

Section 478:36

    478:36 Repealed by 1971, 514:18, XXVIII, eff. Jan. 1, 1973. –

Section 478:37

    478:37 Repealed by 1981, 244:7, XIV, eff. Aug. 10, 1981. –

Register for Hillsborough County

Section 478:38

    478:38 Repealed by 1971, 514:18, XXIX, eff. Jan. 1, 1973. –

Section 478:39

    478:39 Repealed by 1973, 217:2, VIII, eff. Aug. 11, 1973. –

Section 478:40

    478:40 Repealed by 1981, 244:7, XV, eff. Aug. 10, 1981. –

Section 478:41

    478:41 Repealed by 1981, 244:7, XVI, eff. Aug. 10, 1981. –

Fraudulent Filings

Section 478:42

    478:42 Fraudulent Filings. –
I. A person may not knowingly present for filing or cause to be presented for filing in a registry or other public office, any type of document that fraudulently purports to be a judgment or other document to memorialize or evidence an act, order, directive, or process of creating a lien without having been authorized under state law, the Constitution, or the laws of the United States.
II. For purposes of this section, a document or instrument that purports to create a lien on, assert a claim against, or assert an interest in, real or personal property, is presumed to be fraudulent if it:
(a) Is not certified or ordered by a court or a judicial entity expressly created or established under the Constitution or the laws of this state or of the United States; or
(b) Is not a document or instrument provided for by the Constitution or the laws of this state or the United States.
III. Nothing contained herein shall affect the validity of a mechanic's or statutory lien created pursuant to state or federal law.
IV. If a register of deeds or other public official believes in good faith that a document filed with the registry of deeds or other public office purports to create a lien that is fraudulent, the register or other public official shall index the document only under the signer of the document in the grantor index and shall identify the document as a notice in the document type. No other names appearing on the document shall be indexed.
(a) The register or other public official shall send a copy of such document to the county attorney for the county where the document was filed or to the New Hampshire attorney general's office for review and possible prosecution.
(b) The county attorney or attorney general receiving a copy of a document under subparagraph (a) shall send a notice of the action taken under this paragraph to the person presenting or causing such filing by regular mail at his or her last known address no later than the next business day after such action.
(c) Any such document or instrument on file with the registry of deeds or other public office presumed to be fraudulent or deemed fraudulent as described in this section shall be considered invalid, void, and having no force or effect on any named person or persons named within the document or instrument.
(d) Any register of deeds or other public official acting in good faith pursuant to this chapter shall be immune from civil and criminal liability.
V. Any person who knowingly files a document or instrument to fraudulently create a lien on real or personal property shall be guilty of a class B felony.

Source. 2014, 86:1, eff. June 11, 2014.