17.12 Recording Acts

17.12.1

In General

Recording Acts are statutes enacted in the several states regulating the recording of instruments, particularly those affecting title to real estate, determining what instruments must, or may be recorded, and the priority of rights resulting from their recordation.

The recording statutes of the various jurisdictions are not identical. They differ simply because different objectives were sought in their enactments. These objectives can be summarized as follows:

  • To establish a statutory rule of priority among conveyances by according priority of right to a purchaser who first records his/her conveyance.
  • To protect subsequent purchasers against secret and unknown conveyances and agreements by reason of which they would otherwise be prejudiced.
  • To preserve an accessible history of each title according to reliable information as to ownership and encumbrances.

At the present time, there are four types of recording statutes in the United States. They are the following:

  • Race Recording Statutes

    The first grantee from a common source of title to record has priority regardless of whether the first grantee has notice of a prior conveyance.

  • Period of Grace Statutes

    First grantee prevails if first grantee records within specified time after first grantee's conveyance regardless of notice.

  • Race Notice Statutes

    First grantee prevails unless subsequent bona fide purchaser takes without notice and records before recordation by first grantee of prior grantee's deed.

  • Notice Statutes

    Subsequent bona fide purchaser for value who takes title prior to recordation of prior deed without notice of prior deed has priority even if prior grantee records first.