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Massachusetts Agencies

Registered Land

Registered Land

It is provided in G.L.c. 185, §46 that registered land is free of encumbrances except those noted on the certificate. However, the section also states, in clause Third, that registered land is subject to road takings, even if not noted on the certificate, where the certificate does not state that the boundary of the way has been determined. So, just like in the case of federal tax liens, bankruptcies and some of the other things set out in the "laundry list" included in G.L.c. 185, §46, it is necessary to check the unregistered land for some liens and encumbrances. A road taking would affect registered land under the foregoing provisions, whether disclosed on the certificate or not. Here's the "laundry list":

  1. Liens, claims or rights arising or existing under the laws or constitution of the United States or the statutes of this commonwealth which are not by law required to appear of record in the registry of deeds in order to be valid against subsequent purchasers or encumbrances of record.
  2. Taxes, within three years after they have been committed to the collector.
  3. Any highway, town way, or any private way laid out under section twenty-one of chapter eighty-two, if the certificate of title does not state that the boundary of such way has been determined.
  4. Any lease for a term not exceeding seven years.
  5. Any liability for assessment for betterments or other statutory liability, except for taxes payable to the commonwealth, which attaches to land in the commonwealth as a lien; but if there are easements or other rights appurtenant to a parcel of registered land which for any reason have failed to be registered, such easements or rights shall remain so appurtenant notwithstanding such failure, and shall be held to pass with the land until cut off or extinguished by the registration of the servient estate, or in any other manner.
  6. Liens in favor of the United States for unpaid taxes arising or existing under the Internal Revenue Code of 1954 as amended from time to time and any other federal lien which may be filed in the commonwealth.
  7. Liens in favor of the commonwealth for unpaid taxes arising or existing under the laws of the commonwealth

As to orders of conditions, it seems that these, too, affect the title even though not filed on the registered side. I say this because under G.L.c. 185, §46, Clause First, it is provided that "rights arising . . . under the laws . . . of this commonwealth which are not by law required to appear of record in the registry of deeds in order to be valid against subsequent purchasers" also affect registered land, whether they appear on the certificate or not. Although a deed, for example, has to be recorded "to be valid against subsequent purchasers," I'm not sure that an order of conditions under G.L.c. 131, §40A does. Such orders are governmental regulations (not much different than zoning regulations and building bylaws) which affect the use of the land, whether recorded or not. (That is, it seems incumbent upon the purchaser of the property to determine from the town records what governmental regulations are applicable to the land involved, and the failure to record orders issued in connection with such governmental regulations would not seem to diminish this result.)