Ross County Recorder Kathy Dunn has been contacted by both residents and a local attorney about a solicitation letter from a company referring to themself as a "Local Records Office."
The company, which is located in Columbus, Ohio, is offering to obtain a copy of the person’s property deed and other public information for an $89.00 fee. Even though the mailing contains a statement that it is not a governmental agency, it has confused many residents who are concerned about their property records.
"The wording in the letter implies that a copy of your deed would cost you $89.00 at the Recorder’s Office, which I believe is very misleading. Copies of your deed can be obtained anytime from the Recorder’s Office at a cost of 10 cents per page. A typical deed is 3 pages and costs 30 cents. Any deed recorded after December 31, 1973, can be viewed and copied for free from the Recorder’s website at www.landaccess.com," said Dunn.
Dunn added that she has seen these types of letters before: "Please remember that once your deed is filed with the Recorder’s Office it is a permanent record of your ownership and protects your property rights. It makes no difference whether you have a copy or even the original of your deed in your possession. Your rights of ownership are safe and secure."
Dunn asks that residents call the Recorder’s Office for further information or assistance at (740) 702-3000.
Ross County Auditor Tom Spetnagel agreed, adding that the solicitation also promises to provide, for a fee, parcel data that is readily available at no cost on the Auditor’s website at www.co.ross.oh.us/Auditor.
"Not only does our website contain a great deal of useful information about a property’s history, improvements, and comparable sales, but you can even view high-quality aerial photographs of your property," Spetnagel said.
Even if the specific information you seek cannot be found online, Spetnagel urges taxpayers to call his office at (740) 702-3080 and ask for it.
"We are here as a resource for the taxpayer, and we can often help you locate the information you are looking for. There is simply no need to spend $89 for a public record."
The Recorder’s Office and the Auditor’s Office are both located in the Ross County Courthouse at the corner of Paint and Main Streets in downtown Chillicothe. Their offices are open Monday-Friday from 8:30 AM to 4:30 PM.