When personal property, including personal property affixed to real estate, is used as security for debt, the Uniform Commercial Code (UCC) usually governs the transaction.  The UCC is a body of statutory law based on a model code which has been adopted by almost all of the states of the Union, with minor variations from state to state, so that the law governing commercial transactions such as the law of sales, commercial paper, bank deposits and collection, letters of credit, bulk transfers, and secured transactions will be as similar as possible across the nation in order to facilitate commerce.  The register's office is impacted by the requirements of Article 9 of the UCC dealing with secured transactions, and more particularly, Part 5 dealing with filing.  The Tennessee version of Article 9 is found in Chapter 9 of Title 47, Tennessee Code Annotated.  Basically, the Chapter (Article) 9 framework involves the filing of documents to provide notice of liens on personal property and fixtures.  Not all UCC Article 9 records are filed with the Register.  Most are filed with the Secretary of State.  Initial financing statements that are filed in Tennessee should be filed with the Secretary of State except the following which should be filed with the Register of Deeds:

  1. Initial financing statements with “as extracted” collateral; “as extracted” collateral means oil, gas, or other minerals that are subject to a security interest that is created by a debtor having an interest in the minerals before extraction and attaches to the minerals as extracted, or accounts arising out of the sale at the wellhead or minehead of oil, gas, or other minerals in which the debtor had an interest before extraction.
  2. Initial financing statements with timber to be cut as collateral;
  3. Fixture filings--initial financing statements where the collateral is goods that are or are to become fixtures (goods that have become so related to particular real property that an interest in them arises under real property law), except where the filing's collateral, including fixtures, is of a transmitting utility -- these should be filed with the Secretary of State. A “transmitting utility” includes railways, pipelines, sewers, transmitting communications (whether electrically, electromagnetically or by light).  T.C.A. §§ 47-9-501, 47-9-102.

Some financing statements formerly filed in Tennessee should be filed in another state under the new law. 

The Register should not advise the customer regarding the proper place to file a UCC record, but may suggest that the customer should consult with his attorney to determine the proper place to file to perfect the security interest.