Recorder's Office Law and Legal Definition

The recorder's office is the custodian of public records in its county, such as real estate transactions, marriage records and other documents. Over the years, the method of recording these documents has evolved from a system of manual transcription in ledger books to digitally scanning and indexing the documents presented for recording, and the recorder's office may be used similarly to a library.

The United States Constitution provides every individual the freedom and right to own property in their own name. The Office of the Recorder protects that freedom by permanently recording all original documents pertaining to property ownership and real property transactions. Real property records can be examined to ensure good title, and recording of documents may entitle a person to a lien, security interest, or priority to stand in line ahead another creditor. Some of the types of records that may be filed at the recorder's office, among others, include:

  • Real estate documents (for example, deeds, mortgage documents, tax affidavits)
  • Survey, condominium and plat maps
  • Liens
  • Marriage applications and certificates
  • Miscellaneous documents (for example, wills, community property agreement, military discharge papers)

Most real estate transactions require recording per state law, which varies by state. These documents include deeds, mortgage documents, liens, notices, and subdivision and real estate contracts. Local laws should be consulted for recording requirements in your area.