Real Estate Tip – “Signed and Sealed” Still Makes a Difference


In many states, including Maine, “signed and sealed” documents may be enforced for a longer period of time than documents that are not sealed. The statute of limitations for sealed documents may be 20 years, but only six years for documents without a seal. This means that a suit may be brought by landlord or tenant for many years longer than what is typical. Landlords suing for back rent may be limited to a shorter time period, too, if the lease was not sealed.

This brings us to a simple but important practice tip: Don’t rely on only physical seals, paper, wax or imprinted. In addition to those seals, be sure to recite “this document is signed as a sealed instrument” in the body of the lease deed or other documentation.

Today’s real estate tip is brought to you by Rick Smith, a member of Bernstein Shur’s Real Estate Practice Group. Stay tuned for more useful tips for real estate professionals.

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DISCLAIMER: Because of the generality of this update, the information provided herein may not be applicable in all situations and should not be acted upon without specific legal advice based on particular situations.

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