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Frequently Asked Questions

Why is there a lien on my property?

First-time home-buyers who have received an “m” exemption for all or part of the land bank fee routinely have a lien recorded against their property at the Dukes County registry of deeds. The lien is to ensure that the land bank will be notified if the owner attempts to sell the property, which is subject to the lien, before the five-year residency requirement has been completed. Sales within this five-year period will trigger the fee to become due and payable to the land bank, which may also include interest and penalties.

I paid a land bank fee, can I take a deduction on my tax return?

Land bank fees are not deductible in the year in which they are paid. The land bank commission has instead been instructed by its auditing firm and its legal counsel to advise the public that fees paid to the land bank are added to the basis of the property and can be used to reduce the amount of capital gain if/when the property is later sold.

What happens to the lien if I want to refinance?

First-time home buyers who would like to refinance their property are not required to pay off the land bank’s lien prior to doing so. Land bank liens are automatically subordinated to mortgage financing. Language to this effect is printed directly in the body of the lien document, so as to be clear to creditors. The land bank’s lien should not factor into your refinancing in any way.

How do I obtain public records?

Public records may be obtained by contacting James Lengyel, the land bank records liaison officer, at jameslengyel@ or at 508-627-7141 or at 40 Meetinghouse Way, Edgartown, Massachusetts 02539.