Paula Sollami Covello
Mercer County Clerk
TRENTON, NJ – Mercer County Clerk, Paula Sollami Covello, is again alerting all Mercer County homeowners about a direct mail solicitation from a private company offering to provide them with a certified copy of their deed at a cost of $69.50. The name of the company listed on the letterhead of the solicitation is “National Deed Service, Inc.,” with a Northbrook, Illinois address, and a toll-free number. The letter, is being sent under official looking Mercer County government-type envelope, advises property owners that their deed is recorded by the County Clerk and leads the recipient to believe a certified copy of the deed is necessary.
The company instructs homeowners, as it did in similar mailings throughout the year, to pay a fee of $69.50 to obtain a certified copy of their property deed. “This fee is excessive since the County Clerk’s Office provides this as a public service for a minimal cost,” said Sollami Covello. Mercer County homeowners may obtain a certified copy of their recorded deed, at anytime, at their convenience, directly from the Mercer County Clerk’s Office for the cost of only $1.50 dollars per page and a certification charge of $10.00.
“Be warned. No homeowner owner needs to pay $69.50 to a private company for a certified copy of their deed. It is regretful that a company would prey upon unknowing, financially overburdened homeowners, especially during this difficult economy, by offering a service that already exists at the Mercer County Clerk’s office for low cost,” stated Sollami Covello. The bogus mail solicitations are so wide spread in the region that Paula Sollami Covello, the Mercer County Clerk has herself received a solicitation at home last week.
The swindlers utilize the public’s right to land ownership data and have covered themselves by working within a narrow framework of the law. The Mercer County Office of Consumer Affairs and the County Clerks throughout New Jersey have been successful in forcing National Deed Service to disclose it is not a government agency and such records are available free or at nominal cost. Clerk Sollami Covello is working with local State Legislators to subject these outfits to criminal penalties if they fail to meet certain disclosure and registration requirements.
The Mercer County Clerk’s Office files and records all documents concerning real estate ownership, mortgages, and transfers. Homeowners interested in obtaining a certified copy of their deed in person at the Mercer County Clerk’s Office should go to the Courthouse Annex at 209 South Broad Street, in Trenton, from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Homeowners who cannot go to the Clerk’s Office in person may send a letter of request to the County Clerk’s Office, but are advised to first call the Recording Section of the Mercer County Clerk’s Office at (609) 989-6464 and provide their complete property address, purchase date and lot and block number if available, along with the full name of the owner so that they can be properly advised as to the appropriate payment information and mailing instructions.