Effective January 1, 1997, all documents submitted for recording, in the State of Washington, must conform to the standards set forth by RCWs 36.18 and 65.04. A cover sheet is required for documents where the first page does not contain the necessary index fields or the three-inch top margin. A cover sheet will not relieve you of the responsibility of meeting formatting requirements. All pages must conform to formatting requirements for margins, page size, font size, color, legibility, seals and attachments. Documents that do not meet these requirements will be returned. Once reformatted, they can be resubmitted for recording.
The Auditor’s office records documents as required by RCW 36.18. This notice is a reminder of the items that must be in compliance for a document to be recorded. The most common formatting error is the lack of one-inch margins. Statute requires at least a one-inch margin on all pages.
The following standards are required:
- The first page of the document, or the cover sheet, must include the following information:
__Title(s)__Reference Number __Grantor __Grantee __Legal Description __Assessor’s Parcel Number
- Return name & address must be on the first page in the top left corner.
- If a cover sheet is not used, the first page must include a three-inch top margin and one-inch bottom and side margins. Subsequent pages must have one-inch margins on all sides.
- If a cover sheet is used, it must have a three-inch top margin and one-inch bottom and side margins. Subsequent pages must have one-inch margins on all sides.
- All field information must be completed. (See attached is not acceptable.)
- All field information must be legible and capable of being imaged.
- Seals must be legible and capable of being imaged.
- Attachments, such as stapled, taped or glued notary blocks, are not acceptable.
- Margins must be clear of all writing and free of hole punches.
- Page size must be 8 1/2" x 14" or less.
- Font size must be at least 8 point.
Documents that were signed prior to January 1, 1997, may be recorded without re-formatting. However, a cover sheet will be required.
(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:
. . . . . . . . . . . .
Assessor's Property Tax Parcel or Account Number
Reference Numbers of Documents Assigned or Released
[2005 c 134 § 1; 1999 c 233 § 12; 1998 c 27 § 1; 1996 c 143 § 2.]
Effective date -- 1999 c 233: See note following RCW 4.28.320.
Effective date -- 1996 c 143: See note following RCW 36.18.010.
To download a copy of our cover sheet click on link below:
Cover Sheet with Emergency Clause