Recording Requirements

 

Document Formatting Specifications

  1. Acceptable document sizes are 8-1/2” x 11” or 8-1/2” x 14”.  Subdivision plans are the exception.
  2. Documents must be on single sheets of white or manila paper.  Continuous paper is not acceptable.  Documents may contain text on both sides of a sheet of paper.  However, each side with text counts as one page for calculating recording fees.
  3. Documents must be fully typed in black ink, font size no smaller than 10 point.  Handwriting is not permitted.  Exceptions are signatures, acknowledgments, Statement of Value forms, and book volume page numbers on second and subsequent documents ONLY for concurrent recordings.
  4. Deeds and deed related documents should have a minimum 1 inch margin at the top for certification stamping.
  5. The “Record and Mail to” area must include a name and address with zip code, and should be typed, but not within the top 1 inch required margin.
  6. The Certificate of Residence must be typed, and conform to Department of Real Estate standards.
  7. Documents with tape, glue, staples, correctional fluid or tape, or highlighted areas will not be accepted.

General Content Requirements

  1. Documents containing social security numbers will not be accepted for recording.  Soldier Discharge documents are the exception.
  2. All documents must clearly indicate the municipality, ward if in the City of Pittsburgh, county and state in which the property is located. 
  3. Documents that reference a prior recorded deed must also reference the original recording information (Book, volume and page number).
  4. Blanket volume and page reference documents are not accepted.
  5. Deeds and mortgages must have complete legal descriptions.  The legal description must include municipality, ward if in the City of Pittsburgh, county and state, and one of the following:
    1. A lot number along with the Plan Book volume and page number reference of the recorded subdivision
    2. A complete lot description in metes and bounds.   The metes and bounds can be footage and degree measurements or bounds of other properties and streets and distances.
    3. A prior deed reference for the same property.
  6. The worded dollar consideration must match the numerical amount on all deeds and mortgages.
  7. Acknowledgments must include the following: county, state, date, persons/corporate officers appearing, notary signature, and notary rubber stamp.  The use of a notary embosser seal is optional for Pennsylvania acknowledgments.If any of these requirements are missing, the acknowledgment is considered defective, and the document will be rejected for recording.
  8. The notary stamp must be clear, legible (not faded) and in the vicinity of the acknowledgment.  Writing or typing information on the notary stamp is a violation of Chapter 12 of the Pennsylvania Notary Law.  Pennsylvania has adopted the Uniform Acknowledgment Act, and therefore all acknowledgments must comply with the Act.  See Purdon’s 21 Section 291.1 et seq.
  9. The acknowledgment date of a document must not predate the document date.
  10. All foreign language documents must include written English translations to be recorded with the original notarized instrument.
  11. Effective January 1, 2013, as defined in the Pennsylvania Mortgage Satisfaction Act of 2002, the Allegheny County Department of Real Estate will no longer require the submission of a mortgage satisfaction to be accompanied by the original mortgage, a certified copy of the mortgage, or a copy of the first page of the mortgage for verification of mortgage recording information.  Accordingly, there is no longer a requirement to submit an additional $6.00 payment to cover the cost of retrieving/copying the first page of the mortgage when the mortgage satisfaction is not accompanied by a copy of the mortgage.  The Department of Real Estate will continue to verify in-house the recording information (Mortgage Book Volume and Page Number) on the submitted mortgage satisfaction document at no additional cost to the general public.
  12. Multiple documents constituting one transaction must be clearly numbered for order of recording.  Re-recording expenses resulting from an incorrect order of recording shall be the responsibility of the submitter.

Deed Content Requirements

  1. Please refer to Certificate of Residence requirements.
  2. Please refer to Deed Certification requirements.
  3. Parcel identification numbers (Block and Lot numbers) must appear on City of Pittsburgh deeds.
  4. Multiple parcels may be recorded on one deed.
  5. Any taxable deed presented for recording, with the property situated in more than one municipality, must be accompanied by a Statement of Value form in duplicate.  The disbursement of local realty transfer taxes to the municipalities and school districts must be specified by percentage and dollar amounts in whole numbers.
  6. Deeds that require a Statement of Value form (in duplicate) must be completely filled out, signed and dated.  The Statement of Value form is considered as constituting one page of the document.

Corrective Documents

  1. Deed:  If the submitter is using the original recorded deed or a certified copy of the deed to make a correction the following must apply:
    1. The deed must be resigned by the grantor(s) and their signatures must be re-acknowledged by a notary public.
    2. The reason for the correction must be stated on the re-signature page.  The DBV and page number are already displayed on the original recorded coversheet.
    3. The deed must be accompanied by a statement of value in duplicate, again stating the reason for the correction.
    4. A copy of the recorded deed being corrected must be attached to the statement of value that is to be forwarded to Harrisburg.
  2. Deed:  If the submitter is using a newly executed deed to make a correction the following must apply:
    1. A newly executed corrective deed will only have one set of original signature(s) and one original notary acknowledgment.
    2. The reason for the correction must be stated on the signature/notary page.
    3. The correction statement must also include the DBV and page of the deed being corrected.
    4. The deed must be accompanied by a statement of value in duplicate, again stating the reason for the correction.
    5. A copy of the recorded deed being corrected must be attached to the statement of value that is to be forwarded to Harrisburg.
  3. Mortgage:   If the submitter is using the original mortgage or a certified copy of the mortgage to make a correction the following must apply:
    1. The mortgage must be resigned by the mortgagor(s) and their signatures must be re-acknowledged by a notary public..
    2. The reason for the correction must be stated on the re-signature page.  The MBV and page number are already displayed on the original recorded coversheet.
  4. Mortgage:  If the submitter is using a newly executed mortgage to make a correction the following must apply:
    1. A newly corrected mortgage will only have one set of original Signature(s) and one notary acknowledgment.
    2. The reason for the correction must be stated on the signature page.
    3. The MBV and page number of the mortgage being corrected must be stated on the signature page.
  5. The reason for the correction must be TYPED on the deed or mortgage being corrected.
  6. The Statement of Value can be typed or handwritten.

Drafting Standards for Plans for Recording

The following are the administrative regulations of the Department of Real Estate for the preparation of plans for recording:

  1. Allegheny County Department of Real Estate will only accept plans for recording drawn on paper. Transparencies (mylars) of plans will not be accepted.
  2. The paper copy of a plan of subdivision that will be presented for recording must have both the embossed seal and the ink seal of the PA licensed land surveyor who prepared the plan. No plan of subdivision will be accepted that is not sealed as hereby required.In the case of site plan not prepared by a surveyor, the same shall apply in regard to seal of the registered professional engineer, landscape architect or architect who prepared the plan.
  3. All plans presented for recording must be original drawings made on good quality white paper. If requested, the County will also sign and seal one (1) mylar copy of the plan for the applicant‘s use.
  4. The minimum acceptable size for record plans is 17" x 22" (reproducible area dimensions), and the maximum acceptable size is 22" x 34" (reproducible area dimensions).
  5. All signatures, dates and seals on the copy of the plan presented for recording must be made with permanent navy blue ink or felt-tipped pen.
  6. All declarations, certifications, notations, areas, lot line descriptions and other information on the plan shall be in permanent black ink and shall be typed or plotted on the plan. The minimum acceptable font size shall be 1/8" (or 10 points).
  7. All required certifications, declarations, and other clauses must be provided, and must be signed, witnessed, dated and sealed as required.
  8. The minimum acceptable drawing scale for the plat of the actual subdivision is 1" = 100".
  9. All boundary lines in the subdivision must be completely described per Allegheny County SALDO Appendix 4. All such descriptions must be completely legible. Missing, illegible or incorrect information shall be cause for rejection of the plan.
  10. Screening, opaque backgrounds, cross-hatching and the like should not be used as they may cause the plan to be rejected if a clear, legible image of the subdivision cannot be obtained.
  11. A total plan area, and areas for all of the lots, parcels and other units of land in the subdivision must be provided. All areas must be given both acres and square feet.
  12. All subdivision record plans shall have a title block prepared in accordance with §780- 402A.2 and a site location map drawn to scale. Color reproductions of USGS Quad maps may not be used, however, as they are not legible on the plan book record. 

Payment Options

  1. The Department of Real Estate will accept certified checks, business checks, or money orders.  Cash will be accepted if presented in person.  Personal checks are not accepted, except for recording notary commissions.
  2. All checks must be made payable to the Allegheny County Department of Real Estate.
  3. Business checks must include an address and telephone number on the check.
  4. Checks and money orders must be for the exact correct amount of the transaction.  Checks and money orders for incorrect amounts will be cause for the document(s) to be rejected.
  5. Two separate checks must be submitted for recording fees and for realty transfer taxes – they cannot be combined on one check.  The state, municipality and school district realty transfer taxes can be combined on one check.
  6. A maximum of five document transactions can be included on one check.
  7. Draw down accounts cannot be used for payment of realty transfer taxes.
  8. Draw down account customers must recite their account number to the cashier for recordings, or for processing account payments.

The preceding list of document specifications, payment options and recording requirements has been prepared by the Department of Real Estate Office of Allegheny County as a courtesy to the public, and is meant to be a convenient guide to commonly asked questions about deeds, their contents, recording requirements and methods of payment. The user should not rely upon this guide for the preparation of deeds and the validity of the contents thereof. You should contact your attorney regarding any questions concerning your deed or the legality of its contents. Our office will be glad to answer any questions that you may have about the recording of your deed, but will not determine the correctness or legality of the information contained therein.