Jienelle R. Alvarado an Attorney at our sister company, Schneiderman & Sherman, P.C. is the author of the below article on flat rate recording in Michigan published in the DSNews.
Michigan’s governor recently signed bills SB-0599 and HB-5165 into law, which amend MCL 600.2567 and MCL 565.412. These amendments, which take effect on October 1, 2016, modify the fees associated with recording mortgages, assignments, judgments and other documents in the majority of counties for the State of Michigan.
At the present, to record a mortgage, the county charges $14.00 for the first page ($15.00 in Wayne County) and $3.00 for each additional page.Effective October 1, 2016, however, the fee for recording a mortgage, assignment, release, deed or judgment for the majority of Michigan counties is $30.00 (“flat fee”), regardless of the number of pages. Charter counties, such as Macomb and Wayne, have the right to opt out of the changes and, instead, create their own home rule charters tailored to their unique circumstances as specified in the Charter County Act, MCL 45.501 et seq.
Proponents of the flat fee highlight benefits to consumers, lenders, settlement agents and the register of deeds (“ROD”). For example, the flat fee provides consumers certainty as to the cost of recording real estate documents. With respect to the recording of mortgages, in most instances, consumers benefit from the $30.00 cap. In addition, the flat fee will reduce the ROD’s burdens of counting pages and rejecting recording submissions based on an incorrect page count. Most importantly, perhaps, is the benefit all parties to a real estate transaction should experience. Specifically, the flat fee should expedite the closings of real estate transactions otherwise delayed as a result of lender compliance with Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (“CFPB”) regulations. Specifically, the CFPB regulations require lenders to provide consumers with exact recording charges, as part of the Closing Disclosure document (“CD”), not less than three days before closing. The page length of a mortgage, however, can vary based on the lender, the type of real estate, the size of the real estate’s legal description, the number of signing parties, the type of mortgage loan, and/or whether a lender prepares a mortgage for print on letter or legal size paper. Consequently, the lender may not have an accurate page number count three days before closing. If the recording charges the lender states in the CD turn out to be incorrect, the parties cannot close on schedule. Therefore, starting October 1, 2016, consumers, settlement agents, and lenders should see substantially fewer real estate closing delays with respect to instrument recording fee calculation.
 As has always been the case, if a discharge or assignment attempts to discharge or assign multiple mortgage liens in the same county by single discharge or assignment, the county will continue to charge an additional $3.00 per mortgage that is discharged or assigned by that single discharge or assignment.