Municipal Lien Certificate is a legal document that lists all unpaid taxes as well as assessments and utility charges that remain due on a parcel. Each request must have a parcel number (obtained from the Assessor's Office) and should include the property location as well as the current owner and a self-addressed stamped envelope. The municipality has 10 days after receiving a request for a Municipal Lien Certificate to provide the certificate. The normal turn around time is three to five days. The fee for both residential and commercial is $25 for each 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 buyers and sellers of the property. The customary practice is for the certificate to be recorded at the Northern Worcester District Registry of Deeds after the closing.
It is essential for the new property owner 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 penalty charges, interest 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 1st of each year must be on the tax bill. It takes time for the new deed to reach the Assessor's Office from the Registry of Deeds and the new owner's name to appear on the tax bill.