Burnt-Records Act Law and Legal Definition

The Burnt Records Act is a statute to remedy the evils consequent upon the destruction of any public records by fire or otherwise. It enables a property owner to quiet title if the public records for the property have been lost or destroyed in a disaster.

For example, in Illinois the Act is now called the Destroyed Burnt Records Act. According to 765 ILCS 45/1 “ Whenever it shall appear that the records, or any material part thereof, of any county in this state have been destroyed by fire or otherwise, any map, plat, deed, conveyance, contract, mortgage, deed of trust, or other instrument in writing affecting real estate in such county, which has been heretofore recorded, or certified copies of such, may be re-recorded; and in recording the same the recorder shall record the certificate of the previous record, and the date of filing for record appearing in said original certificate so recorded shall be deemed and taken as the date of the record thereof. And copies of any such record, so authorized to be made under this section, duly certified by the recorder of any such county, under his seal of office, shall be received in evidence, and have the same force and effect as certified copies of the original record.”