Michigan Bill 599 Running Through the Senate

michigan senateSenate Bill 599 would amend Section 2567 of the Revised Judicature Act to do the following: 

  • Require a fee of $35 to be paid to the register of deeds for recording a document. — For a document that assigned or discharged more than five interests, require an additional fee of $5 per instrument assigned or discharged over five. — Require, by April 1 of the 10th year after the year in which the bill would take effect, and then every 10 years, the State Treasurer to adjust the $35 recording fee to reflect the percentage change in the Consumer Price Index.

Senate Bill 600 would amend Public Act 146 of 1937, which relates to the establishment and enforcement of liens for labor on oil and gas wells, to specify that a register of deeds would be entitled to receive the same fee for recording and indexing a verified statement of such a lien as is provided for recording a real estate mortgage under Section 2567 of the Revised Judicature Act.

Senate Bills 599, would take effect 90 days after their enactment. A more detailed description of Senate Bills 599 and Senate Bills 601 to 604 follows.

Senate Bill 599 Details
Under Section 2567 of the Revised Judicature Act, except as otherwise provided, a register of deeds is entitled to certain fees, as indicated below.

For entering and recording a deed, mortgage, certified copy of an attachment, notice of pendency of a suit, or other instrument, the fee is $8 for the first page, and $3 for each additional page. Under the bill, instead, for entering and recording a document, the fee would be $35, regardless of the number of pages. The fee would include the fee required to be collected under Section 2567a. (Section 2567a requires a county register of deeds to collect a fee for deposit into the Survey and Remonumentation Fund. Before January 1, 2023, the fee is $4; beginning on that date, the fee will be $2.) As currently required, the register of deeds would have to deposit $5 of the total fee collected into the Automation Fund.

For any document that assigns or discharges more than one instrument, $3 currently must be added to the recording fee for each additional instrument. Under the bill, for a document that assigned or discharged more than five instruments, in addition to the $35 recording fee, the fee would be $5 for each instrument assigned or discharged in excess of five.
The current fee for a seal to exemplification is $1. Under the bill, instead, the fee to certify a recorded document would be $5.

By April 1 of the 10th year after the year in which the bill took effect, and by April 1 of every 10th year after that, the bill would require the State Treasurer to adjust the $35 recording fee or, for successive adjustments, the fee as previously adjusted, by an amount determined by the State Treasurer to reflect the cumulative percentage change in the Consumer Price Index for the preceding 10 calendar years, rounded up to the nearest $5. An adjusted recording fee would apply to documents recorded after that April 1 until April 1 of the next adjustment. As used in the bill, “consumer price index” would mean the most comprehensive index of consumer prices for this State from the Bureau of Labor Statistics of the United States Department of Labor.
would continue to be the same as the fee for recording a discharge of a real estate mortgage.

Senate Bills 599

The bills would have a positive effect on county revenue, which would vary by county. The proposed change in Senate Bill 599 in the fee structure for recording documents including mortgages from a fee based on the number of pages in a document to a flat fee would simplify transactions and reduce the numbers of documents rejected because an incorrect fee was submitted. The Michigan Association of Registers of Deeds indicates that the proposed flat fee of $35 was determined to prevent revenue declines for counties that tend to record longer documents with higher fees per document. Counties that typically record shorter documents would receive an increase in revenue. The bill would provide for the adjustment of the fee every 10 years based on the cumulative change in the Consumer Price Index over the prior decade, rounded up to the nearest $5. The amount of the fee adjustment would be determined by the State Treasurer. The bill also would increase the fee for certifying a document from $1 to $5, which would increase county revenue. The additional fee for recording a document that assigns or discharges more than one instrument would change from $3 per instrument to $5 for each additional instrument in excess of five, which would increase county revenue in most cases.

Senate Bill 599 could have a significant negative impact on the Department of Treasury and the Unemployment Insurance Agency (UIA). Both the Department and the Agency place liens on individuals and businesses for failure to pay taxes and dues on time, as well as remove liens, and are charged by the counties for this process. For FY 2014-15, the Department of Treasury issued and/or removed 73,000 liens and the Unemployment Insurance Agency issued and/or removed 113,595 liens. Currently, Treasury is charged $10 and the UIA is charged $2 per lien, which means that the proposed $35 flat lien rate would amount to a combined $6.5 million, or a $5.6 million increase in costs between the two entities.

Fiscal Analyst: Joe Carrasco Elizabeth Pratt Cory Savino

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