County of San Diego

ASSESSOR | RECORDER | COUNTY CLERK

Ernest J. Dronenburg, Jr.

Recording


The County Recorder, upon payment of proper fees and taxes, will accept any document that is authorized or required by California law to be recorded, if the document contains required information and if it is photographically reproducible.


General Recording Requirements:

Each document presented for recording MUST include or comply with the following general requirements:

  1. The property must be located in San Diego County.  (CIV 1169)

  2. The document must be authorized or required by law to be recorded.  (GOV 27201)

  3. The document must be submitted with the proper fees and taxes.  (GOV 6301, GOV 27201, GOV 27261)

  4. The document must be in compliance with state and local laws.

  5. The document should name the person requesting the recording.  (GOV 27361.6)

  6. The document should state the name and address to which the document is to be returned following recording, by completing the "Recording Requested By and Mail To" section.  (GOV 27361.6)

  7. All documents shall have at least a ½" margin on the two vertical sides. The top 2½ inches of the first page shall be reserved for recording information. (GOV 27361.6)

  8. The document must be sufficiently legible to produce a readable photographic record.  (GOV 27201, GOV 27361.6, and GOV 27361.7)

  9. Signatures must be original, unless the document is a certified copy issued by the appropriate custodian of the public record.  (GOV 27201(b); EVID 1530)

  10. The names of all persons executing or witnessing a document shall be legibly signed or shall be typed or printed to the side of or below the signature. (GOV 27280.5)

  11. The document must be properly acknowledged, unless exempt. California All-Purpose Acknowledgments must be completed as prescribed by law. Any Certificate of Acknowledgment taken in another place shall be sufficient in this state if it is taken in accordance with the laws of the place where the acknowledgment is made.  (GOV 27201, GOV 27285, GOV 27287, GOV 27288, GOV 27289; CIV 1189)

  12. The Assessor's Parcel Number is required on deeds by local Ordinance.  (RTC 11911.1)

  13. The notary seal must be legible for a microfilm reproduction.  (GOV 8207)

Additional Information: 

  • Documentary Transfer Tax (See DTT | PCOR | SB2 tab)

  • Preliminary Change of Ownership Report (See DTT | PCOR | SB2 tab)
    • Required when transferring property to anyone (RTC 480.2)
       
  • SB2 Atkins – Affordable Housing and Jobs Act Fee (See DTT | PCOR | SB2 tab)

  • Declaration and Certification of Translation Form
    • If any portion of the recordable document is in a foreign language, it must be translated to English. 
       
  • Restrictive Covenant Modification

In Person:

You can record documents at any of our available office locations linked below. Appointments are not necessary.

By Mail:

Send the original document with check or money order to one of the following addresses: 

For Overnight/Express Mail:
San Diego Recorder/County Clerk 
590 3rd Avenue, Suite 204
Chula Vista, CA 91910
For Standard US Mail:
San Diego Recorder/County Clerk 
P.O. Box 121750
San Diego, CA 92112-1750

Fees:

All applicable fees must be paid at the time of recording. For a complete list of fees, see our Fee Schedule linked below.

Fees are payable by cash or credit/debit card (in person only), or by check or money order. An additional $2.50 surcharge is applicable for card payments.

Check or money order payable to: San Diego Recorder/County Clerk.

Keep in mind:

State law prohibits the County Recorder from providing assistance or advice in the preparation of legal documents. Most office supply and stationery stores carry legal documents that may fit your situation. There are also legal document preparation websites that provide certain forms. There are a few standard templates listed on our website as Courtesy Recording Forms that you may access (See Forms tab). Once you determine the appropriate form for recordation, you may prepare it yourself or consult with a legal counsel, a local title company, or an escrow company in the preparation and completion of your legal document.

We do not provide notarial services.

Map Recording Appointments:

Appointments are encouraged for this service and are only available Tuesdays and Thursdays. 

Schedule up to 1 week in advance. 

Select Recorder-Clerk, then Map Recording

Guidelines to determine if documents are acceptable for recording:

  • Effective July 1, 1994 documents executed on or after July 1, 1994 must comply with the standard 8 ½" by 11" sheet and paper size to avoid penalty, and must not exceed 8 ½" by 14".

  • Any document including any sheet not exactly 8 ½" by 11" will cost the regular recording fee PLUS an ADDITIONAL $3.00 PER PAGE to record per GOV 27361.1.

  • Attached Exhibits should be on a separate page and properly marked.

  • The first page should have a return address space on the top left that is 2 ½" down and 3 ½" across.

  • On the top right, allow a blank space 2 ½" down and 5" across for the recording. If there is not enough space for the Recorder’s Stamp on the first page, an additional $3.00 will be charged for a Cover Page which is placed on top of the document to provide the necessary space to accommodate the Recorder’s Stamp.

  • The title of the document shall appear on the first page immediately below the spaces reserved for the return address and the blank space for the Recorder’s information. See a Sample Document.

  • Document must not have any fasteners such as seals, rivets, or ribbons connecting pages.

Clarity is assured if you use:

  • Original documents
  • White paper (16 lb. Bond or heavier)
  • Black ink in one color
  • Clear print
  • Be careful of dot matrix printers, fax copies, dark backgrounds, variations in colored paper/ink, print/letters that run together, illegible Notary Seals, etc.

Documents are reviewed by trained examiners who rely on Federal and State Government Codes.

If you need to speak with the Recorder’s staff, call (619) 238-8158. Se habla espanol. 

Search online:

To search and/or request copies of recorded real property documents online (from 1970 to present day), click the link below.

You will only be able to view the indexed information of the document, and not the document itself. To view the document, you must either purchase a copy to be mailed to you or visit one of our available offices to view on our public kiosks. 

View documents in person: 

Come to one of our available office locations linked below and view documents on our public kiosks. Appointments are not necessary.

Order copies of recorded documents online: 

Conduct an Official Records Index search online, then add selected filings to the cart. This service requires the creation of an account. Be sure the address on your account profile (not just the billing page) is the correct shipping address you wish to receive the copy.

Online orders are printed the following business day and sent via regular USPS mail. Allow 3 to 5 business days for delivery; additional time for out-of-state addresses.

Order copies of recorded documents by mail: 

Submit a request by mail and provide the following information:

  1. Document number
  2. Year that the document was recorded
  3. Name of at least one of the parties named on the document
  4. Type of document

Send your written request with check or money order to:

San Diego Recorder/County Clerk
ATTN: Real Estate Records
P.O. Box 121750
San Diego, CA 92112-1750

Order copies of recorded documents in person: 

You can request copies at any of our available office locations linked below. Appointments are not necessary.

Fees:

  • $2 for the first page and $0.05 for each additional page.
  • $1 for certification of copies, per document.  

Fees are payable by cash (in person only), check or money order (in person or by mail), or credit/debit card (in person or online). An additional $2.50 surcharge is applicable for card payments.

Check or money order payable to: San Diego Recorder/County Clerk.

Documentary Transfer Tax: 

Pursuant to Revenue and Taxation Code Section 11911, Documentary Transfer Tax is due on all taxable conveyances in excess of $100 at a rate of $0.55 per $500 (or a fraction thereof) of real property value, excluding any existing liens or encumbrances. Documentary Transfer Tax is collected at the time of recording for each deed or instrument. If no Documentary Transfer Tax is due, indicate "0" on the tax line and include a statement on the face of all documents that are exempt from the tax. (RTC 11932)

Preliminary Change of Ownership Report:

When transferring property to anyone, a Preliminary Change of Ownership Report is REQUIRED per the Revenue and Taxation Code Section 480.2. If a Preliminary Change of Ownership Report is required but not submitted at the time of recording, the Recorder may charge an additional recording fee of $20. 

SB2 Atkins: 

Pursuant to SB2, documents accepted for recording may be charged an additional $75 as follows:

A fee of $75 shall be paid at the time of recording of every real estate instrument, paper, or notice required or permitted by law to be recorded, except those expressly exempted from payment of recording fees, per each single transaction per parcel of real property. The fee imposed by this section shall not exceed $225.

This fee will be calculated per document, with a maximum of $225 based on the number of documents and titles.

The fee shall not be imposed on any real estate instrument, paper, or notice recorded in connection with a transfer subject to the imposition of a documentary transfer tax as defined in Section 11911 of the Revenue and Taxation Code or on any real estate instrument, paper, or notice recorded in connection with a transfer of real property that is a residential dwelling to an owner-occupier.

A declaration of valid exemption may be placed on the face of each document, or on an SB2 Exemption Cover Page which shall become part of the document, prior to depositing with the Recorder. If no valid exemption is declared, the fee will be assessed.

This requirement is being made in accordance with the legislative amendment of Government Code Section 27388.1

Appointments are not necessary. See our available office locations for hours of operation.

Notary Services are only available within the premises of the San Diego Main Office, located at the Clerk of the Board: County Administration Center, 1600 Pacific Highway, Room 402, San Diego, CA 92101. Please check their Notary Services webpage for up-to-date information. The other branch off​ices of the Assessor/Recorder/County Clerk do not have notaries onsite.

State law prohibits us from providing assistance or advice in the preparation of legal documents. Most office supply and stationery stores carry legal documents that may fit your situation. There are also legal document preparation websites that provide certain forms. There are a few standard templates listed on our website as Courtesy Recording Forms that you may access (See Forms tab). You may contact a legal aid service or your legal advisor for assistance in the preparation and completion of your legal documents. (B&P Code 6125) ​

Wills are filed with the Superior Court after the death of the person who made the will. State law does not authorize the Recorder to record wills. ​

The San Diego Superior Court's website is www.sdcourt.ca.gov.

State law prohibits us from providing assistance or advice in the preparation of legal documents. Most office supply and stationery stores carry legal documents that may fit your situation. There are also legal document preparation websites that provide certain forms. There are a few standard templates listed on our website as Courtesy Recording Forms that you may access (See Forms tab). You may contact a legal aid service or your legal advisor for assistance in selecting the appropriate form and the preparation and completion of your documents. (B&P Code 6125) ​

State law requires the Recorder to collect this tax for the county and cities on real property transfers when the value (or consideration) exceeds $100. The tax is based on the value (or consideration), minus any existing liens or encumbrances, at a rate of $0.55 per $500 or fractional part thereof. (Revenue & Taxation Code 11911) ​

See DTT | PCOR | SB2 tab for more info. 

Our office does not have access to Probate Records. Please contact the San Diego Superior Court. The San Diego Superior Court's website is www.sdcourt.ca.gov

You may search the Official Records Index for documents that have been recorded. Recently recorded documents may take approximately 24 to 48 hours to show on public record. Search by the name of either the Grantor or Grantee.

Our office works diligently to process all requests in a timely manner upon receipt. Generally, the turnaround time is 7 to 10 business days. 

If your document does not appear on the Offical Records Index, and you have not received your original document or a rejection correspondence after 6 weeks, please contact our office by email or phone. 

Please be prepared to provide as much information as possible such as:

  • Names of parties on document
  • How the document was submitted to our office
    • Mail tracking number, if applicable
  • Name used as return address on envelope document(s) were submitted in
  • Check number used for payment

All copy orders requested online are printed the next business day and sent via regular mail. Ensure the mailing address in your account profile (not just the billing page) is accurate and complete to avoid any mailing delays. 

You will not be able to print or view the images online, and we are not authorized to provide email/online or fax services for document copies, even after purchase.

Allow 3 to 5 business days for delivery. If you have not received your copy order by mail after two weeks, contact us by email or phone. 

Use the latest version of Google Chrome or Microsoft Edge as your browser. 

Prior to checkout, set your mailing address in your account profile. This should be the address to mail the copies to. 

At checkout, confirm that the billing information matches the credit card information, including the billing address if different than the mailing address. 

If you continue to experience issues, you may email or call us directly.