Recording Documents

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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.