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An owner of record is the individual who is listed in public records as the owner of an asset such as real estate, a mortgage, or stocks and bonds. Several different names are used to designate the owner of record, with some of them specifically related to a particular type of holding. For example, an individual who holds shares of stock may be referred to as a stockholder of record or a shareholder of record.
The owner of record holds full rights to the use of any assets held in his or her name. In the case of real estate, the owner is able to make improvements to the property, or even sell the asset if he or she wishes to do so. As long as the owner has full control of the real estate, there is no need to seek permission from any other party, assuming the activities meet with the regulations and standards set by the local community.
The same is true when other assets are involved, such as shares of stock. An owner of record can take steps to sell any shares in his or her possession, or hold on to them over the long term. Assuming that the owner is a registered holder, the investor can also usually participate in any voting actions that involve investors holding that particular type of stock. A registered holder also receives dividend payments as well as any other distributions that involve those shares of stock.
Along with rights and privileges, an owner of record also has responsibilities that involve the owned assets. With real estate, there is usually the requirement to pay property taxes to local jurisdictions, with those taxes coming due on an annual or semi-annual basis. Many jurisdictions today also require homeowners to maintain insurance on the property and any structures on the grounds. Failure to pay the taxes may lead to situations where the local jurisdiction seizes the property as a means of settling the tax debt. In like manner, a failure to maintain home insurance may lead to an increase in those taxes, or possibly some type of fine.
The owner of record of property may also be required to maintain the grounds in a manner that is in keeping with standards set by the local jurisdiction. Failure to do so could lead to fines and other types of legal action, up to and including the seizure of the property. For instance, if the owner of a vacant lot located in residential section of a city fails to keep the grounds weeded and mown, the city may have the right to clean up the property and bill the owner of record for the cleanup. Should the owner fail to pay the bill, the city may issue additional fines or possibly take steps to seize the property until such time as the owner fully compensates the city for the work and any accumulated fines.