FAQ

FAQ

Here are frequently asked questions and answers. Please read through them first, and if you don't see an answer to your queestion, click here to ask your own question. We will respond to you by email, and if we feel others would be interested in the same question, we'll post it below for everyone.

County Government

How do I find the physical directions/location of a property using the Section, Township and Range information.

First, go to www.earthpoint.us/TownshipsSearchByDescription.aspx.

Enter the information there, and you'll get Longitude and Latitude, which you can enter into a map search such as Google Maps. Using the Lat/Long listed as "centroid" will give you the center of that section or township.

If you don't have the section, it will still work but will give you the much larger dimensions of the whole township, not just the section. 

How do I get a new physical address for a new rural home?

Contact the 911 Coordinator in your county. They can be found at www.ndaco.org/countymap. Just click on your county and it will show the listings for all county officials.

How do I search property owners names and addresses?

Most counties have their own website, and most of those include this service in some form. Use our interactive county map to link to any county's website (if they have one) at www.ndaco.org/countymap. Some counties provide a link on their homepage, and others may include this on the page concerning property taxes.

How does North Dakota fund its county road system, in particular what type of funding such as ad valorem, vehicle registration, fuel tax or other funding sources are used?

In North Dakota the county road system is funded with a mix of local ad valorem* taxes (10%), state fuel & motor vehicle taxes (40%), federal highway funds that are derived from federal fuel taxes (35%) and oil and coal production taxes (15%). These percentages represent an approximate statewide average as the mix in any given county, and for any given year, can vary quite significantly - only about 1/3 of the counties receive oil and coal production taxes.

*Taxes based on value...property taxes.

How many counties in ND elect commissioners at large?

There are 3 configurations for county commissioner elections:

1) live in a district/elected from a district - districts must have no more than 10% population variance

2) live in a district/elected at large - districts are to be "as nearly equal in population as is practical"

3) live at large/elected at large.

Counties have changed from one system to another, and sometimes back again, over the years. To see a detailed report on that progression, we have an Excel sheet you can download by clicking HERE.

is there a burn ban in effect for my county?

The best answer to that question is that you should check with your county's Emergency Manager. All county contact information can be found at www.ndaco.org/counties. Generally speaking, burn bans are tied to the Fire Danger Index. You can find out which level of danger your county is in at www.weather.gov/bis/fire

What does it cost to file a mortgage? Does North Dakota have mortgage registration tax? If so how do you go about figuring out the total amount of mortgage registration tax?

To record a mortgage we charge $10.00 for the first page and $3.00 for each additional age. They must have a 4” X 3 ½” bank square on either the first or last page for our recording info. If there is no blank square we will put recording information on the backside of the last page and charge an additional $3.00. All pages must have a 1” margin on one side of the page or there is an additional $10 margin fee. There is no mortgage registration tax in North Dakota.

When are the start and stop dates for load restrictions on county roads?

Typically, load restrictions are in place from mid February through May, but this varies each year depending on actual moisture and weather conditions. Those dates may also vary from county to county, since conditions often vary widely across the state. Load restrictions are often posted in the official county newspapers. In addition, you may feel free to call the highway department of your county.

A quick and easy way to find contact information for any North Dakota county, use our interactive map at www.ndaco.org/countymap and click on any county. It will open a page of basic information about that county, and if they have a website, a link will be provided there.

When are this year's tax statements due to come out?
When are the payments due?

According to state law (http://www.legis.nd.gov/cencode/t57c20.pdf?20151130092140) your property tax statement is required to be MAILED no later than December 26.

Property taxes become “due” January 1st, but the first installment is not “OVERdue” until March 1, and the second installment is not overdue until October 1. You also receive a 5% discount if you pay before February 15.

As for the year due, the statement will be clearly marked as to the tax year, so for example, the one you get this year will be marked 2015. It follows logically that the due dates mentioned above and stated on your tax statement will be for the subsequent year, 2016.

For details about your specific taxes, please contact your County Treasurer’s Office. To find contact information for any county, please feel free to use our interactive map at www.ndaco.org/counties.

Where can I find information regarding birth or death notices or certificates?

Birth and death certificates and related information can be ordered online from the ND Health Department website: http://ndhealth.gov/vital/

You’ll find a lot of helpful information on that page, including a searchable “Public Death Index” which allows searches with fairly minimal information.

If you do not find what you are looking for there, click on the “Contact us” link on that page to get further assistance from the Health Department or Vital Records division.

Where can I get a county map?

Individuals often seek county maps, and depending upon the purpose, there are different options.

Local (county and township) roads are most accurately depicted on maps prepared and made available through the ND. Dept. of Transportation.  You can order online at https://secure.apps.state.nd.us/dot/mapsales/public/countysearch.htm or by calling (701) 328-2500.

Highly detailed PDF roadmaps are also available as free downloads from the NDDOT website: http://www.dot.nd.gov/road-map/county-base/

For sports enthusiasts, the North Dakota Game & Fish Dept. provides PLOTS (private land open to sportsman) maps on their website: http://gf.nd.gov/hunting/private-land-open-sportsmen

You may also retrieve county level map information from the State’s GIS hub at:  http://www.nd.gov/gis/mapsdata/

Large wall maps can be purchased from a private company called Great Plains Directory Service at www.greatplainsdirectoryservice.com.

And of course, our own Interactive County Map shows all 53 counties, and when you click on a county, it takes you to the contact info for that county's officials, including the county website, if they have one: www.ndaco.org/countymap.

Where can I get information about Open Meetings and Open Records laws and practices?

The ND Attorney General has an excellent page dedicated to Open Records and Open Meetings:

http://www.ag.nd.gov/OpenRecords/ORM.htm

As always, we suggest county officials consult with their own State's Attorney for specific details about any of these issues.

Where do I go to find information about foreclosed land or homes for sale and when the auctions are?

Real Property Sold for Delinquent Taxes in North Dakota

North Dakota State Law (NDCC 57-28-01) states; "On or before June first in each year, the county auditor shall give notice of foreclosure of tax lien for all property for which four or more years have passed since the tax became due." Only after this foreclosure notice does tax title to the property transfer to the county, and the property subsequently becomes available for sale. Since 1999, State Law has not permitted the "sale of delinquent taxes" allowing for a private lien-holder interest in the property.

"The annual sale of land acquired by tax deed must be held at the county auditor's office or the usual place of holding district court in the county beginning on the third Tuesday of November of each year." (NDCC 57-28-13) This can take place only after proper notice, which is spelled out in NDCC 57-28-14, which reads: "Notice of the annual sale must include a description, any street address, and minimum sale price for each parcel of property to be sold. Notice must be given in both of the following manners:

1. By posting a notice at the county auditor's office at least fifteen days before the date of sale.
2. By publishing a notice in the official newspaper of the county once, not less than ten days before the date of sale."
 
Information regarding property subject to sale can therefore be obtained from the county auditor of each county in November, or through the official county newspapers, usually in the first week of November. County Auditors can be identified from the North Dakota Association of Counties interactive county map at www.ndaco.org/countymap. Both the county auditors and the official county newspapers are listed in the annual County Officials Director which is available for purchase (2009 Edition - $30) from NDACo.

Which counties in North Dakota have Home Rule Charters, and what are the pros and cons of having a Charter?

Click here to download the most recent data sheet on County Home Rule Charters.

Updated July 2015

As for pros and cons, Jason Stilwell, a professional city manager in California, included a discussion of that topic in his Doctoral Dissertation.  It is probably as good as anything we have encountered on the issue.  You can find it at the link below.

http://www.jasonstilwell.com/articles/dissertation/ch_2_adv_&_disad.pdf

ND Association of Counties

Are there grants available through NDACo for county courthouse/courtroom security?

The ND Supreme Court administers a grant program called the Courtroom Facilities Improvement Grant. They typically do two rounds of grants per year. For an application or more information contact Jim Ganje at 701-328-4216 or JGanje@ndcourts.gov.

What are the dates of upcoming Annual Conferences?

For general information as well as future dates of any of our events, please click the "Events" tab on this website.

 

 

What does North Dakota Association of Counties do?

We support North Dakota counties in many ways. Lobbying the state legislature and congress was the first reason for the counties to join together, and remains one of our primary functions. We also give counties joint power in purchasing, grants and many programs.

For more details, please explore this website, particularly the Programs and Services area.

Here's an ancient proverb about why county governments (or anyone else) would join together to form an association:

"You think that because you understand ONE, you understand TWO, because one and one makes two. But you must understand AND."

Who enters the data on the interactive county map? I just noticed an error.

The County Auditor usually keeps the data up to date by logging into the Members Area (login at the top right of the page.) We at NDACo can also update that information. Send your corrections to the County Auditor or to ndaco@ndaco.org.

Oil, Gas & Mineral

How can I find out who owns the oil rights on property in North Dakota?

To determine mineral rights on a parcel of land, you need to go to the County Recorder’s Office in the county of that parcel and request any recorded deed documents for the parcel. It’s best if you know the section, township and range for each piece of land you’re researching. Those documents will show you what you need to know. If no mention is made of mineral rights, then the rights reside with the owner of the parcel. Generally speaking the “surface owner” – that is, the farmer or whomever actually owns and operates on that land, will own the mineral rights unless they were “severed” at some time in the past. For example, if you bought some farmland in the oil producing counties today, you would most likely be buying surface rights only, as the mineral rights owners would want to keep their rights, so they would “sever” the minerals from the surface and sell you just the surface.

If you are unable to personally do this research, you can hire someone to act as your representative. An attorney or landman with experience in that field would be ideal. The County Recorder’s staff cannot do the research for you.

It can be pretty complex if those severed mineral rights have been divided up by children, grandchildren and others over time.

For contact information in the county you are researching, including the Recorder’s Office, go to www.ndaco.org/counties.

How do I file a statement of claim for my mineral interest?

These instructions refer to the filing form that can be found at the following link:
https://www.dmr.nd.gov/oilgas/statementclaim.pdf

STATEMENT OF CLAIM FILING INSTRUCTIONS: Fill in the county name in the space provided. The legal description of the real estate should be entered on the form in the blank space provided just under the first paragraph. Enter the name and addresses of all making the claim in the space provided in the center of the page on the left side of the form. If additional space is needed use the backside of the form. The form must be signed by all those making the claim on the owner lines of the form.

Note: All signing the form must sign in front of a notary public. Please do not enter any information in the box that is reserved for recording information or additional fees may apply. When complete; mail the form to the County Recorders Office in the County where the real estate is located. Enclose a check made out to the County Recorder for $10.00 unless the backside of the document has been used, if so an additional $3.00 page fee is needed. Also if you have listed more than 5 sections of land you will need to include $1.00 for each additional section listed after the first 5 sections.

How do I find out the value of my mineral rights in North Dakota? That is, if I were to sell them, how would I know how to establish a proper price for them?

The market for mineral rights is affected by your location, the daily oil markets, which can be quite erratic, and a host of other issues, so it’s difficult to know the going rates in a given area.

County officials cannot give advice regarding your specific values or recommend a real estate broker to help you, but with the help of online searches and recommendations of neighbors, you should be able to find a local real estate broker with experience in mineral rights.

How do we find out the name of a surface owner of a mineral interest claim?

Counties cannot perform this search for you. However, you can look up property ownership at www.ndpropertytax.com. That site allows you to perform search based on the address (complete or partial), parcel number or legal description.

Once you perform that search, you can see who’s name is on that specific piece of land. You may also want to conduct a search for the last deed on record in that name.  If the last deed shows that they have sold it then you would know by finding the last deed. The Auditor’s office updates their ND PROPERTY TAX website once a year. 

I have inherited land in North Dakota. How can I find out if I have the mineral rights, either alone or along with others who inherited this land?

To learn the answer to your question, you have a few options:

  1. You can visit the County Courthouse in person and request the records for your tract of land from the County Recorder’s Office. It's best to have the legal description, however if you don't, you may be able to figure out which tracts of land your search pertains to using county maps. There may be some small fees for copying, etc.
  2. You can have a representative do this for you. These are considered Public Records, so there is no need for written permission. If you do not have a friend or relative in the area, you can hire someone for this, such as an attorney or real estate professional familiar with land records.
  3. You can become a member of the ND Recorders Information Network at www.ndrin.org if the county is a member of NDRIN, as most are. You can then access the records from any computer online. There is a $25 fee for a 30-day membership, and it is a recurring fee (since most members are professional land people) so if you only want to do one search or a few, you’ll want to cancel your subscription after you’ve found the information you need.

More information related to this question can be found in another FAQ at this link: http://www.ndaco.org/about-ndaco/faq/?form_data_id=745.

 

I have mineral rights in North Dakota. I understand that the horizontal drilling method allows for oil collection across a long distance. What prevents horizontal wells on neighboring land from recovering oil from my land? Doesn't surrounding land need to be leased before drilling starts?

Specific formulas are used to calculate which mineral rights owners are affected by each well. This process is regulated by the ND Industrial Commission's Oil & Gas Division. You can learn more about this and contact them with your specific questions and concerns: https://www.dmr.nd.gov/oilgas/

I would like to know if I have mineral rights in North Dakota.

Many people contact the Association of Counties as well as individual county offices inquiring about suspected mineral ownership in North Dakota. As North Dakota law allows the "severing" of mineral interest (often called "mineral rights") from "surface ownership," the tracing of this ownership can become complex.

Documents affecting real property transactions are to be recorded in the office of County Recorder of the specific county containing the land. Each county records thousands of these documents each year, indexing them to the township, range, and section in which the land lies. Some counties also index these documents by "grantor" and "grantee," or the names of the parties to the transaction.

Additionally, both surface and mineral ownership may be affected by a will, trust, divorce degree, or other documents that are often found filed in the Office of the Clerk of District Court. Copies of these documents should also be recorded with the County Recorder when they effectively transfer ownership.

It is important for owners of "severed" mineral interests to understand that State Law considers mineral interests to be "abandoned" if severed interests have not been "used" for a period of 20 years. The interest is considered "used" if activity regarding this interest has taken place, generally documented by the recording of a lease, mortgage, statement of claim, etc. If the mineral interest is abandoned, the surface owner can record a document taking possession of that interest.

For an individual wishing to research possible mineral interests, therefore, the only effective method is a thorough review of the recorded documents. This review CANNOT be conducted by a County Recorder - county officials can make copies of specific documents requested (for an appropriate fee), but may not conduct the research often necessary to identify the relevant documents. This research must be conducted by the individual themselves or a private land record researcher. Some records from some counties are available on the World Wide Web through a subscription service, www.ndrin.com but in some cases, on-site review of the records will be necessary. The website contains free information about the extent of each county's records that it contains.

Occasionally there is mineral leasing or production activity on a particular parcel of land where some of the individuals with mineral interests could not be located. In these situations, state law allows the creation of a trust to receive the revenue associated with the activity. These trusts are created through court action, and since 2007, the County Treasurer has been designated as Trustee. Prior to 2007, the court would appoint a private individual or firm as trustee. Trustees are permitted to retain a portion of the trusts proceeds for their administrative costs. Once trust revenue has been held for three years, the revenue (and information regarding ownership) is turned over to the Unclaimed Property Division of the State Land Department. This State agency retains these revenues indefinitely and publishes information regarding their ownership to the World Wide Web, www.land.nd.gov.

If I have the mineral rights to some land in a North Dakota county, how do I find out if there is oil or natural gas on that land?

There is really no way to KNOW that there is oil under your land except to drill for it. For most folks, hiring that exploration would be too expensive, but you can certainly find out if there are active wells nearby, which would increase your chances, and then contact the companies drilling nearby and let them know you are willing to work with them if they are interested in exploring on your land.

The North Dakota Industrial Commission, Department of Mineral Resources, Oil and Gas Division can help you determine if there is activity in your area. Their website is at https://www.dmr.nd.gov/oilgas. Their FAQ section includes that very question. You will see that link on the lower left side of the home page.

Where County Government can help you is primarily in the Recorders Office, where you can be certain what your actual mineral rights are. If you have any doubts about whether your rights are still in force, etc. It would be wise to make that inquiry with the Recorders Office before approaching any oil exploration companies.

 

Is there a list of unclaimed mineral rights, or a way to find unclaimed mineral rights?

No, there is not. Rights that go unclaimed will revert back to the surface landowner. The process for claiming rights is described in the North Dakota Century Code at NDCC: 38-18.1. You can read the law at http://www.legis.nd.gov/cencode/t38c18-1.pdf.

It is common for those hoping to claim rights to hire a personal attorney with experience in these matters.

My siblings and I inherited mineral rights from our parents. Do we need to do anything to keep the mineral rights to this property in force?

Yes. State Law considers mineral interests to be "abandoned" if they have not been "used" for a period of 20 years. The interest is considered "used" if activity regarding this interest has taken place, generally documented by the recording of a lease, mortgage, statement of claim, etc. If the mineral interest is abandoned, the surface owner can record a document taking possession of that interest.

For an individual wishing to research possible mineral interests, therefore, the only effective method is a thorough review of the recorded documents. This review CANNOT be conducted by a County Recorder - county officials can make copies of specific documents requested (for an appropriate fee), but may not conduct the research often necessary to identify the relevant documents. This research must be conducted by the individual themselves or a private land record researcher. Some records from some counties are available on the World Wide Web through a subscription service, www.ndrin.com but in some cases, on-site review of the records will be necessary. The website contains free information about the extent of each county's records that it contains.

For further details, contact the County Recorder's Office in the county the rights are located. To get contact information for any county office quickly and easily, use our interactive county map at www.ndaco.org/countymap.

PLEASE NOTE: We strongly urge you to seek legal counsel on these matters, particularly when the mineral rights have been passed from one party to another party (or parties) and/or any time those rights may be at risk of becoming "abandoned." NDACo and individual counties can only point to appropriate resources, but cannot offer legal advice.

Voting and Elections

Where can I find information about voting by mail or as an absentee voter?

Voter information and forms you'll need to vote absentee or by mail can be obtained from your county Auditor's Office.

If you do not know how to contact them, use our Interactive map at www.ndaco.org/countymap. When the map opens on your screen, click on your county, and the main contact information for your county will appear on the next screen. There will also be a link to your county's website if they have one.
 

Where can I find out where to go to vote for presidential election??

You may always call your County Auditor's Office with voting questions. Find their phone number by using our interactive map.

Also, the North Dakota Secretary of State's office has a very handy web page where you can simply enter your address and it will tell you where you should vote, and even the hours they are open:

http://web.apps.state.nd.us/sos/voterinfo/searchPollingPlace.htm