Clerk-Recorder FAQs

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Instructions on ACRE’s Self-service Appointment Scheduling Tool
How to Schedule an Appointment / Cancel or Reschedule an Appointment / Check-In for Your Appointment

How to Schedule an Assessor–County Clerk–Recorders & Elections Appointment

  1. Navigate to the online reservation process to schedule an appointment. You can click here to begin the process.

    Qmatic Appointment Reservation
  2. Select the branch from the list by clicking on the circle next to the name.

    Qmatic Appointment Reservation Select Branch
  3. Click on the down arrow next to the service group name to see the list of respective services:

    Qmatic Appointment Reservation Select Service
    If you do not see the service that you’re looking for, this means we currently are not executing appointments for that particular service. Please click here to contact the appropriate department for more information.
     
  4. Click on circle next to the appropriate service name from the list.

    Qmatic Appointment Reservation Recording Documents
  5. Next, click on the date in the calendar that you wish to schedule.

    You can use the arrows next to the Month in the calendar to navigate to the next month.

    Qmatic Appointment Reservation Select Date and Time
    Please note that we only release appointment dates 30 days from the current date.
     
  6. After you select the date on the calendar of your choosing, you will see the available time slots. Click on the time slot that you wish to schedule.

    Qmatic Appointment Reservation Select Date and Time selected
  7. Type in your information (e.g. First/Last Name, Email Address, and Mobile Number). You will receive both email and SMS text messages.

    Qmatic Appointment Reservation Contact Details
  8. Once you have filled out your contact information, please check the box next to the Terms & Conditions, and Privacy Policy. To view the information, you can click on the individual links.

    After agreeing to Terms and Conditions and Privacy Policy, click Create Appointment.

    Qmatic Appointment Reservation Contact Details Terms and Conditions and Privacy Policy
  9. You will receive both a text and email confirmation messages. Please save the confirmation messages – you will need the information from the messages to check-in on the date/time of your appointment or cancel/reschedule [if necessary].

How to Cancel or Reschedule an Assessor–County Clerk–Recorders & Elections Appointment

  1. You should have received a confirmation email when you scheduled an appointment. In your confirmation email, scroll down to the section titled, “How to Cancel or Reschedule” and click on the link.

    Qmatic Cancel or Reschedule Appointment
  2. You will be prompted to select what you want to do.

    If you would like to reschedule, click on “I Want to Reschedule My Appointment”. Read instructions from Step #4 through 6 below.

    Qmatic  Reschedule Appointment
    If you would like to cancel, click on “I Want to Cancel My Appointment”. Read instruction on Step #3.

    Qmatic  Cancel Appointment
  3. If you want to cancel, you will be prompted to confirm that you want to proceed. Click “Yes” if you would like to continue, or “No” if you do not want to continue.

    Qmatic Confirm Cancellation
    After you click “Yes”, you will receive a confirmation on the screen and a confirmation text and email will also be sent to you.

    Qmatic  Appointment Cancelled
  4. If you want to reschedule, you will be prompted to select a new date from the calendar. Click on the date in the calendar that you wish to schedule.

    You can use the arrows next to the Month in the calendar to navigate to the next month.

    Qmatic Schedule Appointment
    Please note that we only release appointment dates 30 days from today.
     
  5. After you select the appropriate date, you will see the available time slots. Click on the time slot that you wish to schedule.

    Qmatic Schedule Appointment Time
  6. You will receive both a text and email confirmation message for the rescheduled date.

    Please save the confirmation messages – you will need the information from the message to check-in on the date/time of your appointment or cancel/reschedule [if necessary].

How to Check-In for Your Assessor–County Clerk–Recorders & Elections Appointment

There are 2 ways to check-in to your appointment – you can check-in using your cell phone with our mobile check-in process or using the on-site kiosk in front of the office, 1st floor at 555 County Center.

Please note that you cannot check-in more than 10 minutes before or after your scheduled appointment. If you are late or cannot attend your appointment, please cancel and/or reschedule for another date and time.

Mobile Check-in Process

  1. You should have received a confirmation email or reminder text message when you scheduled an appointment. In your appointment confirmation email or reminder text message, we have provided a link to the mobile check-in site. Click on the link from either email or text message to begin the process on your mobile device.

    Qmatic Check-In email confirmation
    Qmatic Check-In reminder confirmation
  2. If you check-in within the 10 minutes window, you should see the “Arrive” button on the screen, as shown below. If you do not see the “Arrive” button, this means you are too early or too late to the appointment.

    Qmatic  mobile check-in arrive
  3. Once you click on the “Arrive” button, you will receive a virtual ticket and be notified by text message.

    Qmatic  mobile check-in virtual ticket
    At the top of your virtual ticket, you will see your placement in line.

    Depending on your placement in line, you may be prompted to wait inside the designated area of the office or be asked to remain outside the building. Please follow the directions as stated in the text message.
     
  4. When you are called, you will hear your number on the audio inside the office with the ticket and station number displayed on the TV Monitors. Additionally, you will also receive a text message alerting you that you have been called.

    Please be sure you are in the office by the time your ticket number is called.

Kiosk Check-In Process

  1. There is a kiosk outside of the Assessor–County Clerk–Recorders & Elections Office on the first floor of 555 County Center, in the rotunda.

    On the kiosk, select “Yes” on the screen to begin the check-in process.

    Qmatic Kiosk
  2. Type-in the confirmation number from your confirmation email.

    Qmatic email confirmation number
  3. You will receive a physical ticket. Please hold on to your ticket and wait in the office until your number is called.

    When you are called, you will hear your number on the audio inside the office with the ticket and station number displayed on the TV Monitor.

    Please note with the kiosk check-in, you will not be receiving text message alerts.
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Marriage Licenses and Marriage Ceremonies via Video Conference FAQs

How long will you be issuing online marriage licenses and conducting virtual marriage ceremonies?

This program will remain in effect until the Executive Order is modified or rescinded or until the State of Emergency is terminated, whichever occurs sooner.

What software do I need?

Other than a computer, tablet or cell phone with a microphone and camera and an internet connection, no additional software is required for the marriage license and marriage ceremony.

When can I schedule an appointment?

Marriage licenses and marriage ceremonies via video conference appointment are currently available Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., excluding holidays.

How do I schedule an appointment?

Couples who would like to schedule an appointment, please email CountyClerk@smcacre.org with your names, phone numbers and emails. We will contact you with appointment date and time. For more information, please call 650.363.4566.

How do I pay the fee?

Fees are submitted through Elavon, the San Mateo County Clerk-Recorder Division’s electronic payment system.

How does the technology work?

Microsoft Teams allows couples to video chat with officials from the San Mateo County Clerk-Recorder Division in lieu of an in-person appointment. DocuSign allows couples to submit a secured signed license after their ceremonies.

Are the marriages legal?

Yes. California Gov. Gavin Newsom recently issued an executive order permitting the issuance of marriage licenses and the conduct of remote civil wedding ceremonies via teleconferencing technologies.

Can I invite family and guests to join the video conference?

Yes. It will be limited to the parties engaged to be married, maximum of 2 witnesses and the officiant.

Is the service available in other languages?

Yes. Spanish.

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Recording Documents

Does your office provide legal forms? If not, where do we get them?

Our office does not provide legal forms. Although we would like to give you as much information as possible, under California law, we are prohibited from providing any legal advice. This includes advising what document to record, providing any legal forms and assisting with the preparation of any legal documents. It is recommended that you seek assistance from an attorney or authorized individual. Legal forms can also be obtained from the Law Library, stationery stores or online.

Can your office help with a title search on property?

The Recorder Division does not conduct title searches. We maintain the official archive of legally recordable transactions so that members of the public can come in and conduct their own searches.

Your office recorded a lien against me. I want it removed.

The County Recorder cannot release a lien from the official record. You must contact the agency, person or person’s attorney who claimed the lien against you to resolve the lien. Once the lien is paid/resolved, the claimant will issue the release.

If the lien cannot be resolved, you can go to court to resolve the issue. You may want to contact your attorney for assistance.

I paid off a lien and the release has already been recorded. Why is it still showing on my credit report?

When Releases are recorded, the Recorder Division does not notify any agencies. To remove the lien from your credit report, you can obtain a recorded copy of the Release from our office and forward it to each of the credit reporting bureaus.

What are the time limits on certain documents (e.g. Mechanic’s Liens, Abstracts of Judgment, Notices of Completion)?

The Recorder Division cannot give out legal information regarding documents. You may want to look up such information at a law library or contact your attorney for assistance.

I have a filed-stamped copy of a court order/judgment. Can this be recorded in your office?

No. You will need to obtain a certified copy of the court order/judgment (signed, dated and sealed by the court clerk certifying that the copy is a true and correct copy of the original). The certified copy of the court order/judgment can be recorded in our office.

I just paid off my mortgage.  When will I get my new Deed?

Purchasing a house is different from purchasing a car in that the “title” to your car is issued when the car loan is paid off. When you purchase a house, the Deed or “title” to your house is recorded when escrow closes.  That recorded Deed is then mailed to you approximately 4-6 weeks after the recording date.  Whether or not you have a mortgage against your house does not change the “title” to your house, unless you subsequently recorded another Deed to change “title” (e.g. adding/removing a spouse, transferring title to your trust).

I just received a suspicious-looking document from your office called Substitution of Trustee and Deed of Full Reconveyance. What is it and should I be worried?

A Substitution of Trustee and Deed of Full Reconveyance (or sometimes just a Deed of Full Reconveyance) is recorded when a mortgage is paid off. The language on the document may be confusing but you should not be worried.

If the property is in the City of San Mateo, why do I have to fill out another tax declaration?

The City of San Mateo is the only city for which the county collects city conveyance tax. The City of San Mateo conveyance tax is due at the time of recording, levied at a rate of $5 per thousand, based on the purchase price or fair market value of the real property interest conveyed, unless a valid exemption is cited.

Please note that the allowable exemptions for the City of San Mateo conveyance tax and the Documentary Transfer Tax are separate and may differ.

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Fictitious Business Names

When must I file a Fictitious Business Name Statement?

You can file before you make your first transaction. In any case you must file within 40 days of making your first transaction.
 

Is a Fictitious Business Name Statement good forever?

No. You must update it every five years, even if no information about your business has changed.
 

Where do I file and/or to whom is the check written?

Fictitious Business Name Statements must be filed with the County Clerk in which the registrant has his or her principal place of business. If filing in San Mateo County please write the check to the San Mateo County Clerk. 
 

May I have more than one Fictitious Business Name Statement on file?

Yes. You may have as many Fictitious Business Name Statements on file as you have separate businesses. Also, there may be more than one registrant listed on your Fictitious Business Name Statement.
 

Does filing a Fictitious Business Name Statement automatically guarantee that no other business is using my name?

No, it does not reserve the name for your exclusive use. The filing is for consumer protection, and is under requirement under law. Applicants, not the county, are responsible for verifying that the business name used is unique. The applicant also is responsible for verifying that the name does not violate any trademark protocols. The County Clerk’s Division will search Fictitious Business Name Statements on file for a fee.

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Documentary Transfer Tax Affidavit

Who can sign the affidavit?

Only one person must sign the Tax Affidavit. The transferor/transferee of the conveyance or an attorney/representative with full knowledge of the transaction can sign the Tax Affidavit

I am recording a Deed and it is exempt from Documentary Transfer Tax.  Do I still need to submit a Tax Affidavit?

Yes. The Tax Affidavit is submitted to help explain the nature of the transaction and the validity of the claimed DTT exemption. Be sure to attach any required supporting documentation to prove that your claimed DTT exemption is valid.

I am recording an Affidavit of Death. Do I need to submit a Tax Affidavit?

No. The Tax Affidavit is currently only required for the following documents: Deeds (including Grant, Quitclaim, Interspousal, Trust Transfer and Warranty Deeds), Leases, Memorandum of Leases, Assignment of Leases, Easements, Deeds in Lieu of Foreclosure, Land Contracts and Agreements for Sale.

I am adding my spouse to title and I am claiming that the DTT exemption of “Gift”.  Do both of us need to sign the Tax Affidavit?

No. Only the Donor is required to sign the gift tax disclaimer under question 4 on the Tax Affidavit. The Tax Affidavit itself (2nd page) can be signed by either party or a representative with full knowledge of the transaction.

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Form 700

I am running for office. Do I have to file a Conflict of Interest Statement (Form 700)?

Candidates running for local elective offices (for example, county sheriffs, city clerks, school board trustees, and water district board members) must file candidate statements, as required by the conflict-of-interest code for the elected position.

If you are filing a statement in connection with your candidacy for state or local office, investments, interests in real property, and business positions held on the date of filing your declaration of candidacy must be reported.  In addition, income (including loans, gifts, and travel payments) received during the 12 months prior to the date of filing your declaration of candidacy is reportable.  Do not change the preprinted dates on Schedules A-1, A-2, and B.

I am a newly elected/appointed official or board member that filed a Conflict of Interest Statement (Form 700) as a candidate. Do I also have to file an assuming office statement now that I am in office?

The answer is, “Yes”. Investments, interests in real property, and business positions held on the date you assumed the office or position must be reported. In addition, income (including loans, gifts, and travel payments) received during the 12 months prior to the date you assumed the office or position is reportable.

I am a reelected official or board member. Do I have to file an assuming office statement?

If you complete a term of office and, within 30 days, begin a new term of the same office (for example, you are reelected or reappointed), you are not required to file an assuming office statement.  Instead, you may file the next annual statement due.

Example:  Last day of term is October 30, 2007 and beginning of new term is November 6, 2007 (you only need to file an annual statement)

If there is a lapse of more than 30 days, from the last day of term and the beginning of the new term, you have to file a leaving office and an assuming office statement. Investments, interests in real property, and business positions held on the date you assumed the office or position must be reported. In addition, income (including loans, gifts, and travel payments) received during the 12 months prior to the date you assumed the office or position is reportable.

Example:  Last day of term is June 20 (leaving office statement required) and beginning of new term is August 10 (assuming office statement required).

I am a newly elected/appointed official or board member. What is my assuming office date?

Elected officials are deemed to assume office on the date they are sworn in. Non-elected officials assume office on the date they are authorized to serve or on the date they are sworn in.

Investments, interests in real property, and business positions held on the date you assumed the office or position must be reported.  In addition, income (including loans, gifts, and travel payments) received during the 12 months prior to the date you assumed the office or position is reportable.

When should I file an assuming office statement or leaving office statement?

A designated filer must file within 30 days of assuming office or within 30 days of the effective date of a newly adopted or amended conflict-of-interest code.

Example:  Date of assuming office is July 1, 2007

Officials leave office on the day they stop performing their official duties. (See FPPCs Regulation 18722 for more information.).  A leaving office statement must be filed within 30 days from the date a filer left office or ceased performing their official duties.

Example:  Date of leaving office is August 10, 2007

Filers who leave office between January 1, 2008, and April 1, 2008, may file a combination annual/leaving office statement instead of two separate statements as long as the statement is filed within 30 days of leaving office or by April 1, 2008, whichever is earlier.

Example:  Date of leaving office is March 19, 2008

I am a city council member but also a board member of one of the county agencies. How should I file?

If you hold multiple positions (for example, a city council member who also is a member of a county board or commission), you may be required to file statements with each agency. To simplify your filing obligations, you may complete an expanded statement.

To do this, enter the name of the other agency(ies) with which you are required to file and your position title(s) in the space provided.  Attach an additional sheet if necessary. Complete one statement covering the disclosure requirements for all positions. Each copy must contain an original signature. Therefore, before signing a statement, make a copy for each agency. Sign each copy with an original signature and file with each agency. Be aware of the jurisdictions.

Example:  You are a city council member (Redwood City) and a board member of the Civil Service Commission (San Mateo County)

I assumed office on November 1, 2007. Do I have to file an annual statement that is due on April 1, 2008?

Last Quarter assuming individuals who assumed office between October 1, 2007, and December 31, 2007, and filed assuming office statements are not required to file the 2007 annual statement. The next annual statement (2008) should cover the day after their assuming office date through December 31, 2008, and will be due on April 1, 2009.

Example:  Assumed office on November 1, 2007

1. Assuming Office Statement due within 30 days from Nov.1st

2. Annual Statement due on April 1, 2009