Recording Acts Definition and Legal Meaning

On this page, you'll find the legal definition and meaning of Recording Acts, written in plain English, along with examples of how it is used.

What is Recording Acts?

(n) Recording Acts are the Act which empowers the County recorder or recorder of deeds to maintain the record of deeds as per the provisions governing such recordings

History and Meaning of Recording Acts

Recording Acts are laws enacted by the state or the federal government, which provide guidelines for the recording of public land records. These acts set out requirements and procedures for the recording of deeds, mortgages, and other legal documents, and the system is administered by the county recorder or recorder of deeds. The primary purpose of recording acts is to provide for the orderly transfer of property ownership and to provide a public record of all transactions.

The earliest recording laws date back to the 1700s in colonial America, though these laws were not uniform across the different states at that time. It wasn't until the 19th century that states began to adopt standardized recording acts, which provided consistent rules and procedures for recording land transfers. Today, almost every state in the US has some form of recording act on the books.

Examples of Recording Acts

  1. John wants to sell his house to Jane. They enter into a written contract, and John records the contract with the county recorder's office. Later, John changes his mind and sells the house to someone else. Jane sues John for breach of contract, but because she did not record the contract with the county recorder's office, she is not considered an innocent purchaser, and she loses her case.

  2. Mike mortgages his property to a bank. The bank records the mortgage with the county recorder's office. Later, Mike defaults on the mortgage, and the bank forecloses on the property. Because the bank recorded the mortgage, it has a priority claim on the property over any subsequent liens or claims.

  3. Mary sells her property to Mark. Mary's mortgage company has a lien on the property, which Mark agrees to assume as part of the sale. Mark records his deed and the assumption agreement with the county recorder's office. The mortgage company then records a release of its claim on the property.

Legal Terms Similar to Recording Acts

  1. Title Insurance: An insurance policy that protects the property owner and/or lender in case of defects in the title or ownership rights of a property.
  2. Statute of Frauds: A legal doctrine that requires certain types of contracts to be in writing and signed in order to be enforceable.
  3. Property Law: The area of law that deals with the ownership, use, and transfer of real property.