In mid-2011, New York State implemented a pilot program for Form RP-5217, Real Property Transfer Report, getting rid of the old, carbon copy, fill-in forms you had to get from the County Clerk’s Office. This downloadable, bar-coded PDF form is currently being accepted for transfers of real property located in the following pilot, approved Counties: Cortland, Erie, Essex, Onondaga, Orange, Rockland and Tompkins.
A year and a half later, the above seven (7) Counties are still the only authorized Counties to use the new online PDF form.
If you contact other County Clerks’ Offices, they are either not accepting the PDF form or require multiple copies to be submitted. This has created additional work for attorneys and paralegals in New York, now having to know what Counties accept the PDF form, and extra steps having to contact County Clerks’ Offices to inquire what their procedure is regarding the PDF form.
From a virtual paralegal standpoint, completing the carbon copy form is not difficult, but makes it inconvenient in providing documents to attorneys in a timely and efficient manner.
I am uncertain as to how long typical “pilot” programs take to implement in New York, but this one is taking a long time. There are lots of excuses, i.e., proper equipment has to be installed at the local and county offices, its too difficult, etc. New York residents pay the highest recording fees in the country. This form alone costs $125.00 up to $250.00 to file. There should be sufficient funds collected by the State and Counties to pay to upgrade Counties so they can accept this form.
No matter what the reason is, change is not easily accepted. But implementing these new online forms is an improvement for New York paralegals and attorneys, saves time and money and helps streamline the process in the County Clerk’s Office. The sooner this program is fully implemented the better.