Ocean County Press Release
TOMS RIVER – Ocean County Clerk Scott M. Colabella said a newly signed state law will help residents from being overcharged for certified copies of deeds by private vendors.
"This bill was endorsed by the Constitutional Officers Association of New Jersey and we are very pleased to see it signed into law," said Colabella. "This will help many of our residents who have been taken advantage of by vendors charging high prices for a certified copy of deed that can easily be obtained at County Clerk offices for far less."
The new law stipulates that when deed solicitors advertise their services, they are also to include the address and telephone number of the appropriate County Clerk's office through which the recipient could obtain a copy of the deed directly.
In addition, the bill prohibits deed procurement companies from creating a false impression in a solicitation for deed procurement services that the recipient is legally required to use the services in order to obtain a copy of a deed.
Colabella said the new stipulations will help reduce the number of private vendors charging high prices for deeds.
"We have been closely working with the Ocean County Department of Consumer Affairs in trying to stop this practice," Colabella said. "And while it was not illegal, these types of businesses were marking up the prices anywhere from $80 to $89.
"The markup was far higher than the average $10 that is charged for a certified copy of a deed at my office, which is usually about five pages," he said.
Colabella also noted that most deeds can be viewed online for free by accessing the County Clerk's website at www.clerk.co.ocean.nj.us.
In Ocean County, this kind of solicitation can be costly especially for the many seniors that live here, Colabella said.
"Our seniors can be vulnerable to these types of solicitations," said Ocean County Freeholder Joseph H. Vicari, who serves as liaison to the Office of Senior Services and the Department of Consumer Affairs. "This should certainly help our seniors."
The bill stipulates that a violation of its provisions is punishable under the consumer fraud act. An unlawful practice is punishable by a monetary penalty of not more than $10,000 for the first offense and not more than $20,000 for any subsequent offense.
Anyone interested in obtaining a deed can contact the Ocean County Clerk's Office at 732-929-2018.