Chapter 65.04 RCW

DUTIES OF COUNTY AUDITOR

Sections
Definitions.
Duty to provide records.
Instruments to be recorded or filed.
Notice of abandoned cemetery documentRecording requirements.
Method for recording instrumentsMarginal notationsArrangement of records.
Recorded instrumentsRequirementsContent restrictionsForm.
Recorded instrumentsCover sheetWhen requiredForm.
Additional fee for certain documents not meeting requirementsSigned statement.
Index of instruments, how made and keptRecording of plat names.
Record when lien is discharged.
Recording judgments affecting real property.
Entries when instruments offered for recordContent restrictions.
Further endorsementsDelivery.
Liability of auditor for damages.
Names on documents, etc., to be printed or typewrittenIndexing.
Fees to be paid or tendered.
Auditor as custodian of records.
NOTES:
Corporate seals, effect of absence from instrument: RCW 64.04.105.
County auditor: Chapter 36.22 RCW.
Fees of county officers, generally: Chapter 36.18 RCW.
Powers of appointment: Chapter 11.95 RCW.


65.04.015
Definitions.

The definitions set forth in this section apply throughout this chapter unless the context clearly requires otherwise.
(1) "Recording officer" means the county auditor, or in charter counties the county official charged with the responsibility for recording instruments in the county records.
(2) "File," "filed," or "filing" means the act of delivering or transmitting electronically an instrument to the auditor or recording officer for recording into the official public records.
(3) "Record," "recorded," or "recording" means the process, such as electronic, mechanical, optical, magnetic, or microfilm storage used by the auditor or recording officer after filing to incorporate the instrument into the public records.
(4) "Recording number" means a unique number that identifies the storage location (book or volume and page, reel and frame, instrument number, auditor or recording officer file number, receiving number, electronic retrieval code, or other specific place) of each instrument in the public records accessible in the same recording office where the instrument containing the reference to the location is found.
(5) "Grantor/grantee" for recording purposes means the names of the parties involved in the transaction used to create the recording index. There will always be at least one grantor and one grantee for any document. In some cases, the grantor and the grantee will be the same individual(s), or one of the parties may be the public.
(6) "Legible and capable of being imaged" means all text, seals, drawings, signatures, or other content within the document must be legible and capable of producing a readable image, regardless of what process is used for recording.
NOTES:
Effective date1999 c 233: See note following RCW 4.28.320.



65.04.020
Duty to provide records.

For the purpose of recording deeds and other instruments of writing, required or permitted by law to be recorded, the county auditor shall procure such media for records as the business of the office requires.
[ 1999 c 233 § 11; 1985 c 44 § 14; 1893 c 119 § 10; Code 1881 § 2726; RRS § 10600.]
NOTES:
Effective date1999 c 233: See note following RCW 4.28.320.



65.04.030
Instruments to be recorded or filed.

The auditor or recording officer must, upon the payment of the fees as required in RCW 36.18.010 for the same, acknowledge receipt therefor in writing or printed form and record in large and well bound books, or by photographic, photomechanical, electronic format, or other approved process, the following:
(1) Deeds, grants and transfers of real property, mortgages and releases of mortgages of real estate, instruments or agreements relating to community or separate property, powers of attorney to convey real estate, and leases which have been acknowledged or proved: PROVIDED, That deeds, contracts and mortgages of real estate described by lot and block and addition or plat, shall not be filed or recorded until the plat of such addition has been filed and made a matter of record;
(2) Patents to lands and receivers' receipts, whether for mineral, timber, homestead or preemption claims or cash entries;
(3) All such other papers or writing as are required by law to be recorded and such as are required by law to be filed.
NOTES:
Claim of spouse or domestic partner in community realty to be filed: RCW 26.16.100.
Marriage certificate to county auditor, filing and recording, etc.: RCW 26.04.090, 26.04.100.
Purchaser of community realty protected by record title: RCW 26.16.095.



65.04.033
Notice of abandoned cemetery document—Recording requirements.

Any person who has knowledge of the existence of any cemetery, abandoned cemetery, historical cemetery, or historic grave that has not been dedicated pursuant to RCW 68.24.010 through 68.24.040 may file for recording, in the county in which the cemetery or grave is located, a notice of abandoned cemetery document providing notice of the existence of the cemetery or grave. Such document shall contain the legal description of the property, the approximate location of the cemetery or grave within the property, the name of the owner or reputed owner of the property, and the assessor's tax parcel or account number. The auditor or recording officer shall index the document to the names of the property owner and the person executing the document.



65.04.040
Method for recording instruments—Marginal notations—Arrangement of records.

Any state, county, or municipal officer charged with the duty of recording instruments in public records shall record them by *record location number in the order filed, irrespective of the type of instrument, using a process that has been tested and approved for the intended purpose by the state archivist.
In addition, the county auditor or recording officer, in the exercise of the duty of recording instruments in public records, may, in lieu of transcription, record all instruments, that he or she is charged by law to record, by any electronic data transfer, photographic, photostatic, microfilm, microcard, miniature photographic or other process that actually reproduces or forms a durable medium for so reproducing the original, and which has been tested and approved for the intended purpose by the state archivist. If the county auditor or recording officer records any instrument by a process approved by the state archivist it shall not be necessary thereafter to make any notations or marginal notes, which are otherwise required by law, thereon if, in lieu of making said notations thereon, the auditor or recording officer immediately makes a note of such in the general index in the column headed "remarks," listing the record number location of the instrument to which the current entry relates back.
Previously recorded or filed instruments may be processed and preserved by any means authorized under this section for the original recording of instruments. The county auditor or recording officer may provide for the use of the public, media containing reproductions of instruments and other materials that have been recorded pursuant to the provisions of this section. The contents of the media may be arranged according to date of filing, irrespective of type of instrument, or in such other manner as the county auditor or recording officer deems proper.
NOTES:
*Reviser's note: The definition "record location number" was changed to "recording number" by 1999 c 233 § 10.
Fees for recording instruments: RCW 36.18.010.
State archivist: RCW 40.14.020.



65.04.045
Recorded instruments—Requirements—Content restrictions—Form.

(1) When any instrument is presented to a county auditor or recording officer for recording, the first page of the instrument shall contain:
(a) A top margin of at least three inches and a one-inch margin on the bottom and sides, except that an instrument may be recorded if a minor portion of a notary seal, incidental writing, or minor portion of a signature extends beyond the margins;
(b) The top left-hand side of the page shall contain the name and address to whom the instrument will be returned;
(c) The title or titles, or type or types, of the instrument to be recorded indicating the kind or kinds of documents or transactions contained therein immediately below the three-inch margin at the top of the page. The auditor or recording officer shall be required to index only the title or titles captioned on the document;
(d) Reference numbers of documents assigned or released with reference to the document page number where additional references can be found, if applicable;
(e) The names of the grantor(s) and grantee(s), as defined under RCW 65.04.015, with reference to the document page number where additional names are located, if applicable;
(f) An abbreviated legal description of the property, and for purposes of this subsection, "abbreviated legal description of the property" means lot, block, plat, or section, township, range, and quarter/quarter section, and reference to the document page number where the full legal description is included, if applicable;
(g) The assessor's property tax parcel or account number set forth separately from the legal description or other text.
(2) All pages of the document shall be on sheets of paper of a weight and color capable of producing a legible image that are not larger than fourteen inches long and eight and one-half inches wide with text printed or written in eight point type or larger. All text within the document must be of sufficient color and clarity to ensure that when the text is imaged all text is readable. Further, all pages presented for recording must have at minimum a one-inch margin on the top, bottom, and sides for all pages except page one, except that an instrument may be recorded if a minor portion of a notary seal, incidental writing, or minor portion of a signature extends beyond the margins, be prepared in ink color capable of being imaged, and have all seals legible and capable of being imaged. No attachments, except firmly attached bar code or address labels, may be affixed to the pages.
(3) When any instrument, except those generated by governmental agencies, is presented to a county auditor or recording officer for recording, the document may not contain the following information: (a) A social security number; (b) a date of birth identified with a particular person; or (c) the maiden name of a person's parent so as to be identified with a particular person.
The information provided on the instrument must be in substantially the following form:
This Space Provided for Recorder's Use
When Recorded Return to:
. . . . 
Document Title(s)
Grantor(s)
Grantee(s)
Legal Description
Assessor's Property Tax Parcel or Account Number
Reference Numbers of Documents Assigned or Released
NOTES:
Effective date1999 c 233: See note following RCW 4.28.320.
Effective date1996 c 143: See note following RCW 36.18.010.



65.04.047
Recorded instruments—Cover sheet—When required—Form.

(1) If the first page of an instrument presented for recording does not contain the information required by RCW 65.04.045(1), the person preparing the instrument for recording shall prepare a cover sheet that contains the required information. The cover sheet shall be attached to the instrument and shall be recorded as a part of the instrument. An additional page fee as determined under RCW 36.18.010 shall be collected for recording of the cover sheet. Any errors in the cover sheet shall not affect the transactions contained in the instrument itself. The cover sheet need not be separately signed or acknowledged. The cover sheet information shall be used to generate the auditor's grantor/grantee index, however, the names and legal description in the instrument itself will determine the legal chain of title. The cover sheet shall be substantially the following form:
Return Address
 
 
Please print or type information
Document Title(s) (or transactions contained therein):
1.
2.
3.
4.
Grantor(s) (Last name first, then first name and initials)
1.
2.
3.
4.
5. Additional names on page     of document.
Grantee(s) (Last name first, then first name and initials)
1.
2.
3.
4.
5. Additional names on page     of document.
Legal Description (abbreviated: i.e., lot, block, plat or section, township, range)
 
Additional legal description is on page     of document.
Assessor's Property Tax Parcel or Account Number at the time of recording:
Reference Number(s) of Documents assigned or released:
 
Additional references on page     of document.
The Auditor or Recording Officer will rely on the information provided on this form. The staff will not read the document to verify the accuracy of or the completeness of the indexing information provided herein.
(2) Documents which are exempt from format requirements and which may be recorded with a properly completed cover sheet include: Documents which were signed prior to January 1, 1997; military separation documents; documents executed outside of the United States; certified copies of documents; any birth or death certificate; marriage certificates from outside the state of Washington; any document, one of whose original signer is deceased or otherwise incapacitated; and judgments or other documents formatted to meet court requirements.
NOTES:
Effective date1999 c 233: See note following RCW 4.28.320.
Effective date1996 c 143: See note following RCW 36.18.010.



65.04.048
Additional fee for certain documents not meeting requirements—Signed statement.

(1) Documents which must be recorded immediately and which do not meet margin and font size requirements may be recorded for an additional fee of fifty dollars. Documents which do not meet legibility requirements must not be recorded as a nonstandard recording.
(2) In addition to preparing a properly completed cover sheet as described in RCW 65.04.047, the person preparing the document for recording must sign a statement which must be attached to the document and which must read substantially as follows: "I am requesting an emergency nonstandard recording for an additional fee as provided in RCW 36.18.010. I understand that the recording processing requirements may cover up or otherwise obscure some part of the text of the original document."
NOTES:
Effective date1999 c 233: See note following RCW 4.28.320.



65.04.050
Index of instruments, how made and kept—Recording of plat names.

Every auditor or recording officer must keep a general index, direct and inverted. The index may be either printed on paper or produced on microfilm or microfiche, or it can be created from a computerized database and displayed on a video display terminal. Any reference to a prior *record location number may be entered in the remarks column. Any property legal description contained in the instrument must be entered in the description of property column of the general index. The direct index shall be divided into eight columns, and with heads to the respective columns, as follows: Date of reception, grantor, grantee, nature of instrument, volume and page where recorded and/or the auditor's file number, remarks, description of property, assessor's property tax parcel or account number. The auditor or recording officer shall correctly enter in such index every instrument concerning or affecting real estate which by law is required to be recorded, the names of grantors being in alphabetical order. The inverted index shall also be divided into eight columns, precisely similar, except that "grantee" shall occupy the second column and "grantor" the third, the names of grantees being in alphabetical order. The auditor or recording officer may combine the direct and indirect indexes into a single index if it contains all the information required to be contained in the separate direct and indirect indexes and the names of all grantors and grantees can be found by a person searching the combined index. For the purposes of this chapter, the term "grantor" means any person conveying or encumbering the title to any property, or any person against whom any lis pendens, judgment, notice of lien, order of sale, execution, writ of attachment, claims of separate or community property, or notice for request of transfer or encumbrance under RCW 43.20B.750 shall be placed on record. The auditor or recording officer shall also enter in the general index, the name of the party or parties platting a town, village, or addition in the column prescribed for "grantors," describing the grantee in such case as "the public." However, the auditor or recording officer shall not receive or record any such plat or map until it has been approved by the mayor and common council of the municipality in which the property so platted is situated, or if the property be not situated within any municipal corporation, then the plat must be first approved by the county legislative authority. The auditor or recording officer shall not receive for record any plat, map, or subdivision of land bearing a name the same or similar to the name of any map or plat already on record in the office. The auditor or recording officer may establish a name reservation system to preclude the possibility of duplication of names.
NOTES:
*Reviser's note: The definition "record location number" was changed to "recording number" by 1999 c 233 § 10.
Effective date1996 c 143: See note following RCW 36.18.010.



65.04.060
Record when lien is discharged.

Whenever any mortgage, bond, lien, or instrument incumbering real estate, has been satisfied, released or discharged, by the recording of an instrument of release, or acknowledgment of satisfaction, the auditor shall immediately note, in the comment section of the index, the recording number of the original mortgage, bond, lien, or instrument.
[ 1999 c 233 § 15; 1985 c 44 § 17; Code 1881 § 2729; 1869 p 315 § 25; RRS § 10604.]
NOTES:
Effective date1999 c 233: See note following RCW 4.28.320.



65.04.070
Recording judgments affecting real property.

The auditor must file and record with the record of deeds, grants, and transfers certified copies of final judgments or decrees partitioning or affecting the title or possession of real property, any part of which is situated in the county of which he or she is recorder. Every such certified copy or partition, from the time of filing the same with the auditor for record, imparts notice to all persons of the contents thereof, and subsequent purchasers, mortgagees, and lienholders purchase and take with like notice and effect as if such copy or decree was a duly recorded deed, grant, or transfer.
[ 2012 c 117 § 205; Code 1881 § 2730; RRS § 10605.]



65.04.080
Entries when instruments offered for record—Content restrictions.

(1) When any instrument, paper, or notice, authorized or required by law to be filed or recorded, is deposited in or electronically transmitted to the county auditor's office for filing or record, that officer must indorse upon the same the time when it was received, noting the year, month, day, hour and minute of its reception, and note that the document was received by electronic transmission, and must file, or file and record the same without delay, together with the acknowledgments, proofs, and certificates written or printed upon or annexed to the same, with the plats, surveys, schedules and other papers thereto annexed, in the order and as of the time when the same was received for filing or record, and must note on the instrument filed, or at the foot of the record the exact time of its reception, and the name of the person at whose request it was filed or filed and recorded. However, the county auditor shall not be required to accept for filing, or filing and recording, any instrument unless there appear upon the face thereof, the name and nature of the instrument offered for filing, or filing and recording, as the case may be.
(2) When any instrument, except those generated by governmental agencies, is presented to a county auditor or recording officer for recording, the document may not contain the following information: (a) A social security number; (b) a date of birth identified with a particular person; or (c) the maiden name of a person's parent so as to be identified with a particular person.



65.04.090
Further endorsements—Delivery.

The recording officer must also endorse upon such an instrument, paper, or notice, the time when and the book and page in which it is recorded, and must thereafter either electronically transmit or deliver it to the party leaving the same for record or to the address on the face of the document.
[ 2003 c 239 § 1; 1996 c 229 § 5; Code 1881 § 2732; RRS § 10607.]



65.04.110
Liability of auditor for damages.

If any county auditor to whom an instrument, proved or acknowledged according to law, or any paper or notice which may by law be recorded is delivered or electronically transmitted for record: (1) Neglects or refuses to record such instrument, paper or notice, within a reasonable time after receiving the same; or (2) records any instruments, papers or notices untruly, or in any other manner than as directed in this chapter; or, (3) neglects or refuses to keep in his or her office such indexes as are required by *this act, or to make the proper entries therein; or, (4) neglects or refuses to make the searches and to give the certificate required by *this act; or if such searches or certificate are incomplete and defective in any important particular affecting the property in respect to which the search is requested; or, (5) alters, changes, or obliterates any records deposited in his or her office, or inserts any new matter therein; he or she is liable to the party aggrieved for the amount of damage which may be occasioned thereby. However, if the name or names and address hand printed, printed, or typewritten on any instrument, proved or acknowledged according to law, or on any paper or notice which may by law be filed or recorded, is or are incorrect, or misspelled or not the true name or names of the party or parties appearing thereon, the county auditor shall not, by reason of such fact, be liable for any loss or damage resulting therefrom.
[ 1996 c 229 § 6; 1965 c 134 § 1; Code 1881 § 2734; RRS § 10609.]
NOTES:
*Reviser's note: The language "this act" appears in Code 1881 c 211, codified herein as RCW 5.44.070, 36.16.030 through 36.16.050, 36.16.070, 36.16.080, 36.22.110 through 36.22.130, 36.22.150, 65.04.020, 65.04.030, 65.04.050 through 65.04.110, 65.04.130, and 65.04.140.



65.04.115
Names on documents, etc., to be printed or typewritten—Indexing.

The name or names appearing on all documents or instruments, proved or acknowledged according to law, or on any paper which may by law be filed or recorded shall be hand printed, printed or typewritten so as to be legible and the county auditor shall index said documents and instruments in accordance with the hand printed, printed or typewritten name or names appearing thereon.



65.04.130
Fees to be paid or tendered.

Said county auditor is not bound to record any instrument, or file any paper or notice, or furnish any copies, or to render any service connected with his or her office, until his or her fees for the same, as prescribed by law, are if demanded paid or tendered.
[ 2012 c 117 § 206; Code 1881 § 2735; RRS § 10610.]



65.04.140
Auditor as custodian of records.

The county auditor in his or her capacity of recorder of deeds is sole custodian of all books in which are recorded deeds, mortgages, judgments, liens, incumbrances, and other instruments of writing, indexes thereto, maps, charts, town plats, survey and other books and papers constituting the records and files in said office of recorder of deeds, and all such records and files are, and shall be, matters of public information, free of charge to any and all persons demanding to inspect or to examine the same, or to search the same for titles of property. It is said recorder's duty to arrange in suitable places the indexes of said books of record, and when practicable, the record books themselves, to the end that the same may be accessible to the public and convenient for said public inspection, examination, and search, and not interfere with the said auditor's personal control and responsibility for the same, or prevent him or her from promptly furnishing the said records and files of his or her said office to persons demanding any information from the same. The said auditor or recorder must and shall, upon demand, and without charge, freely permit any and all persons, during reasonable office hours, to inspect, examine, and search any or all of the records and files of his or her said office, and to gather any information therefrom, and to make any desired notes or memoranda about or concerning the same, and to prepare an abstract or abstracts of title to any and all property therein contained.
[ 2012 c 117 § 207; 1886 p 163 § 1; 1883 p 34 § 1; Code 1881 § 2736; RRS § 10611.]
Site Contents
Selected content listed in alphabetical order under each group