(a) In lieu of the alphabetical indexes required by G.S. 161-21, 161-22 and 161-22.1, the register of deeds of any county in which unique parcel identifier numbers have been assigned to all parcels of real property may install an index by land parcel identifier numbers. For each instrument filed of record, the entry in a land parcel identifier number index must contain the following information:
(1) The parcel identifier number of the parcel or parcels affected;
(2) A brief description of the parcel or parcels, including subdivision block and lot number, if any;
(3) A description of the type of instrument recorded and the date the instrument was filed;
(4) The names of the parties to the instrument to the same extent as required by G.S. 161-22 and the legal status of the parties indexed;
(5) The book and page number, or film reel and frame number, or other file number where the instrument is recorded.
(b) Every instrument affecting real property filed for recording in the office of such register of deeds shall be indexed under the parcel identifier number of the land parcel or parcels affected.
(c) The parcel identifier number index may be maintained in index books, on index cards, on film, or in computers or other automated data-processing machines. If the parcel identifier number index is maintained in a computer or other automated data-processing machine, the register of deeds shall, at least once each month, obtain from the computer or other data-processing machine a printed copy on paper or film of all index entries made since the previous printed copy was obtained. The printed copies shall be retained as security copies and shall not be altered or destroyed.
(d) Before a register of deeds may install a parcel identifier number index in lieu of the alphabetical indexes required by G.S. 161-22, the proposed index must be approved by the Secretary of State. Before approving a parcel identifier number index, the Secretary must find that:
(1) The requirements of this section, G.S. 161-22, and all other applicable indexing requirements of the North Carolina General Statutes and applicable judicial decisions will be met by the index;
(2) Measures for the protection of the indexed information are such that computer or other machine failure will not cause an irremediable loss of the information;
(3) Printed forms and index sheets used in the index permit a display of all information required by law and are otherwise adequate;
(4) Any computer or other data-processing machine used and the program for the use of such machines are adequate to perform the tasks assigned to them;
(5) Access to the information contained in the index can be obtained by the use of both a parcel identifier number and the name of any party to an instrument filed of record;
(6) Any parcel identifier number either reflects the State plane coordinates of some point in the parcel, or is keyed to a map of the parcel that shows the location of the parcel within the county;
(7) The parcel identifier numbering system is designed so that no parcel will be assigned the same number as any other parcel within the county;
(8) The parcel identifier numbering system shows for parcels of land created by subdivision, the number of the parcel of land subdivided in addition to the numbers of the newly-created parcels;
(9) The parcel identifier numbering system shows for parcels of land created by the combining of separate parcels, the numbers of the land parcels that were combined in addition to the number of the newly-created parcel;
(10) The parcel identifier numbering system is capable of identifying condominium units and other separate legal interests that may be created in a single parcel of land;
(11) The parcel identifier numbering system will meet the needs of the users as well as or better than the alphabetical indexes required by G.S. 161-21, 161-22 and 161-22.1.
The Secretary may require a register of deeds seeking approval of a parcel identifier number index to furnish him with any information concerning the index that is pertinent to the findings required for approval.
(e) (1) An approved parcel identifier number index shall become effective as the official real property index of the county as of the first day of July or the first day of January, as the board of commissioners directs, following approval by the Secretary of State.
(2) In any county in which a parcel identifier index is the official index, the register of deeds shall post notices in the alphabetical index books and at other appropriate places in his office stating that the parcel identifier number index is the official index and the date when the change became effective. (1977, c. 589; 1979, c. 700, s. 2; 1983, c. 49; 1985, c. 757, s. 161(a), (b); 1989, c. 727, s. 218(163); 1989 (Reg. Sess., 1990), c. 1004, s. 19(b); 1997-443, s. 11A.119(a); 1999-119, s. 3.)