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Duties of the Recorder of Deeds With Respect to General Recording Requirements

Legal advice cannot be provided by this office.  Staff cannot help you complete legal forms or provide legal advice of any type. If you have any questions about completing forms or the proper method of transferring property, you should consult an attorney or legal advisor.

The Recorder of Deeds shall ensure that documents presented for recordation comply with the following requirements:

  • A complete legal description is required on each document, which includes the lot number, square number, subdivision and reference information as recorded with the Office of the Surveyor.
  • The Assessment and Taxation (A & T) Lot number is required as part of legal description for all properties that are assigned such a number.
  • Names and/or signatures of all grantors (party giving title) and/or grantees (party receiving title) must be listed in the document and names must be in print. All signatures must be acknowledged and notarized.
  • "Return to" mailing address must be legibly printed on every document brought in for recording.
  • DC ST § 47-1433(c) - a $250.00 penalty is due for all Deeds of Title that are submitted for recording later than (30) thirty calendar days from its execution date.
  • A completed Tax Form (FP7C) is required for all Deeds, Trusts, Modifications and Amendments to a Deed of Trust; Memorandum of Leases; Easement Agreements.
  • A Security Affidavit is required on all Residential Deeds of Trust and Modifications.
  • All Judgments, Orders, etc. must be certified by the DC Superior Court.
  • All notarized documents must include the notary seal (if applicable), signature, name and expiration date.
  • All documents or attachments must be completely legible for recording.
  • All checks must be for the exact amount of fees and/or taxes due at the time of recording, completed and made payable to the DC Treasurer.

Generally, the Recorder of Deeds does not investigate instruments to determine whether they are valid.  Typically, the D.C. Superior Court will determine whether an instrument is valid.  Though the Recorder’s office is not entirely ministerial, the discretion afforded to it pursuant to applicable law is limited.  Nonetheless, the Recorder of Deeds may reject filings which appear on their face to be facially or flagrantly improper for recordation.

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