A Municipal LIen Certificate is a legal document that lists as all unpaid taxes, assessments, and utility charges that are unpaid on each parcel. Each request must have a parcel number and the property location, current owner and a self-addressed stamped envelope. Parcel numbers can be obtained from the Assessor's Office. The municipality has 10 days from the date of receipt of the request to provide the Municipal Lien Certificate. The normal turnaround time is 3 to 5 days. The fee for both residential and commercial certificates is $50 per parcel.
Municipal Lien Certificates are usually requested by an attorney's office prior to the sale or refinancing of the property for the protection of the property owners. The customary practice is for the certificate to be filed at the Hampshire County Registry of Deeds after the closing.
It is essential for new property owners to contact the Treasurer/Collector's Office to find out the mailing and due dates of future bills. This will avoid the possibility of additional interest, penalty charges, or a possible lien being placed on the property if taxes are not paid because the new owner did not receive the bill. Massachusetts General Law requires that the assessed owner as of January 1 of each calendar year must be on the tax bill. It takes time for the new deed to reach the Assessors' Office from the Registry of Deeds and the new owner's name to appear on the tax bill.