With the Office of the Assessor-Recorder recording more than 400 different types of documents it is important to note the basic document requirements that our document examiners look for.  Please see below for what each document presented to our office must include or comply with.

Reminder:  Documents are examined only to determine if they meet “Recording Requirements,” which are very different from legal requirements. It is highly recommended that you speak with an attorney, title company representative, or other authorized individual for assistance. Only documents permitted by law may be recorded.  Although we would like to give you as much information as possible, under California law, our document examiners are PROHIBITED from providing legal advice or assisting in document preparation. (Section 6125 of the Business and Professions Code).

Block/Lot and Situs
In accordance with San Francisco Business & Tax Regulations Code, Article 12-C, Section 1102.1Assessor Parcel Number(s) (APN) are required on every document pertaining to real property that is submitted for recordation in San Francisco. The current Assessor’s parcel number, or numbers, and the commonly-known situs (street name and number) of the real property described therein are required, on the face of the 1st page of the document. If these elements are missing, the document will not be recorded.

Recording Jurisdiction
Instruments entitled to be recorded must be recorded in the county in which the real property affected is located (Civil Code 1169).

Form Standardization
Document must contain black or blue ink on white paper.  All pages must be 8 ½" by 11". There is a surcharge of $3 per page for every page of a document in which any portion of the document is not 8 ½" by 11".  Any page over 8 ½" by 14" will not be accepted for recording.  (Gov. Code 27361.5).

Requesting Party and Return Address
The left-hand 3 ½" of the top 2 ½" of the first page shall be used for the name of person requesting recordation and the name and mailing address where the document should be mailed after recording (Gov. Code 27361.65).

Reservation of Space
Document must have at least a ½" margin on the two vertical sides; the right-hand 5" of the top 2 ½" shall be reserved for the recorder label.  In the event the first page of the document does not contain sufficient space, a separate page shall be attached by the requesting party to the front of the document. This separate page is now considered the first page of the document (Gov. Code 27361.65).

Legibility/Photographability
Document must be legible and capable of producing a readable photographic record. Whenever a document, or portion of a document, is not sufficiently legible to produce a readable photographic record, a legible copy may be attached and shall be certified by the party creating the copy to be a true copy of the original.  Legible copy also pertains to notary seals, certificates and other appendages thereto (Gov. Code 27361.75).

Document Titles
All document titles must be identified on the first page, immediately below the space reserved for the recorder label (Gov. Code 27324).

Exhibits
Exhibits must be clearly marked as such and submitted with the respective document (Gov. Code 27361.1).

Signatures
Document must contain original signatures OR be a certified copy of the original; certified copies must be unaltered (Gov. Code 27201(b)).

Legible Names of Party(ies) to be Indexed
Names of party(ies) to be indexed must be legibly printed or typed near all signatures and be consistent throughout the entire document (Gov. Code 27280.5).

Modifying or Releasing Interest
Any document which modifies or releases a previously recorded document shall state the names of all parties affected and being released, the county of recordation, the document number (or book and page), and the date of the recordation of the document being modified or released (Gov. Code 27361.6).

Other
Depending on the type of document, additional requirements apply.

Reminder: Although we would like to give you as much information as possible, under California law, our document examiners are PROHIBITED from providing legal advice or assisting in document preparation. (Section 6125 of the Business and Professions Code).