Our local Registries of Deeds are taking precautionary steps to reduce the spread of COVID-19. Most of them are strongly recommending an electronic recording, when possible.

Below is the current status of each Registry.  Please contact Harris & Murphy, LLP with any questions. 

As of June 18th


Land Court - Yes

All Courthouses including the Barnstable Registry of Deeds and Probate Building is limited for emergency access only until at least June 1, 2020, the registry is presently
open for recordings only, no closings, research or copy services; if you are an entity that is eligible to e-file, they are asking that you e-file; registry is also encouraging mail-in. If you are going to be mailing documents in, the registry asks that you go to their website on how to properly mail the documents to them; for documents that cannot be e-filed or are time sensitive documents, you must call 508-362-7733 (ext. 8) between 8-11:45 am and 12:15-3:30 pm for instructions on how to best record. The registry is not accepting drop-off documents at this time.
The Barnstable County Registry of Deeds will be closed on Friday, July 3, 2020 in observance of Independence Day, per the County Commissioners.

Berkshire South (Barrington)

Land Court - Yes

Office is no longer closed to the public; if you are going to the office, you must wear a mask; the office is now accepting in-person recordings, mail-in recordings, recordings via their drop box, and e-recording for recorded land documents only.

Berkshire Middle (Pittsfield)

Land Court - No

Office is closed to the public; registry is allowing documents to be exchanged at the door for recorded and registered land, however, the registry is requiring that people call before going down to their office; the registry is encouraging mail in and erecording (only for recorded land docs) if possible; for registered land documents, they are asking that people email their documents to be approved before going down to their office to either of the following email addresses - laura.bowler@sec.state.ma. s or diane.duquette@sec.state. a.us.

Berkshire North (Great Barrington)

Land Court - No

Office is closed to the public; Encouraging e-recording or mail-in to record documents; if you go to the registry you will be required to remain in lobby and someone will retrieve the documents from you and record, you are not allowed to the enter the recording office area; if there is a specific document that cannot be accessed online, you may email the registry and they will email you a copy of the document.

Bristol North (Taunton)

Land Court - Yes

Office is closed to the public; recordings need to be dropped-off in drop box, if you wish to wait for docs to be recorded you would need to coordinate with the registry; efiling is available recorded land and registered land.; Attleboro office is closed to the public; recordings are being accepted; no closings allowed; if someone has e-filing inquiries, they need to call the Taunton office.

Bristol South (New Bedford)

Land Court - No

Closed to the public; when you arrive at the building, you must ring the door bell and they will meet you at the door to receive the docs and return once they are on record; e-filing is available for recorded land only; no closings; limited research access by appointment only between 8-11:30 am or 1:00 4:00 pm shift; for documents that are being filed with Land Court during this time, suggesting that you fax (508 997-4250) or email (lperry@newbedforddeeds.c m) for approval before heading down to the office; As a precautionary measure Registered Land Department will be closed Wednesday May 6th through Friday May 8th. There will be no recordings of Registered Land Documents during this time.


Land Court - No

Office is closed to the public until June 1, 2020; accepting documents by mail or efiling (recorded land docs only) , no more drop-off; if need to file registered land docs, must mail-in

Essex North (Lawrence)

Land Court - Yes

Office is closed to the public; recordings must be sent by mail or drop-off in basket outside the door; no closings; e-filing is available for recorded and registered land docs

Essex South (Salem)

Land Court - Yes

Office is closed to the public and are currently accepting recordings via a drop-box, mail-in and encouraging e filing for recorded and registered land; no research or closings access.


Land Court - No

Office is closed to the public; e-filing for recorded land only, mail-in option is encouraged by USPS, if you need to go in office personnel will meet you at the door to hand-off documents, but you must make an appointment before going to the registry; registered land docs must be mailed-in or brought to registry in person.

Hampden (Springfield)

Land Court - Yes

The Hampden County Courthouse is closed to the public until June 1, 2020. Westfield City Hall is closed to the public as well until further notice. This means that the Hampden County Registry of Deeds will neither be open to the public in Springfield or Westfield. However, the Registry will continue to remotely record documents through
E-Recording channels. This includes Land Court documents. The Registry will be receiving mail and over-night packages until further notice, which are processed upon receipt.

Hampden (Westfield Satellite)

Land Court - Yes

Closed to public. Mail-In & E-File



We are aware of closures and limited access throughout Massachusetts. Our goal is to provide continued excellent support during this challenging situation. 


That being said, we would like to provide an update, as well as information for your convenience. Massachusetts registries are working diligently to provide online access and limit the spread of COVID-19.  


Harris & Murphy, LLP has worked with their title companies to obtain a GAP COVERAGE policy with owner’s title insurance. The policy has no limitation on the size of the policy, due to the closure of a Registry of Deeds in the event that documents cannot be recorded immediately after the closing.


Please watch this informative video by CATIC to see how dhow gap coverage works. Click here to see the video.


Please click here to see a sample attached Gap Indemnity.



Governor Baker's new bill means that the smoke certificate would become the buyer's responsibility within 90 days of the State of Emergency being lifted. This would be at the cost of the buyer as well as the buyer would have to agree to take on the responsibility. That is where this will get tricky. Most likely it will be a good idea, and a sign of good faith, that the seller credit the buyer with the cost to inspect at the time of closing. The buyer may require that the seller also provide evidence that they bought and installed the correct smoke/co detectors as well, or the seller could do that on their own to make the buyer more comfortable with taking on this responsibility. Some buyers may take on the responsibility on their own, but others may want the extra added assurance before taking on the burden. We are working on drafting an agreement which will state that it is the buyer's responsibility to do this whenever a smoke/co certificate has not been obtained in time for closing, for any of our closings where a certificate was unable to be obtained. 


Harris & Murphy, LLP is working each day to provide an updated reference for Registry of Deeds closures and statuses. That being said, these statuses are subject to change. It is our goal to provide the most accurate information possible, but encourage you to use our COVID-19 page on our website as a resource. We will also be providing our clients with continual updated, direct communication regarding the status of your transaction. Harris & Murphy, LLP is certified to conduct e-recording, when available.  The ability to e-record is based on registry availability and is also based on the circumstances of each transaction.

We will work to provide continued updates via email, social media and through the dedicated section of our website. Thank you for trusting Harris & Murphy, LLP, please contact us directly with any questions or concerns.