Recorder of Deeds FAQs

FAQs

  

Frequently Asked Questions

The Recorder of Deeds Division often receives requests to help people find information contained in our office. We may provide information about our recording guidelines, fee schedule, office hours and location, but the staff is not authorized to give legal advice or opinions, prepare documents or conduct a search of records to determine information about a specific piece of property. Please consult a qualified professional (attorney, title insurance company, realtor or surveyor) for these services. We may instruct you how to use the various indices to the records on file, providing a starting point for you to access this information yourself.

Below is a list of frequently asked questions and information requests arranged by category. Click on a question to go to the answer.

1. General Information

2. Recording Documents

3. Deeds

4. Realty Transfer Tax

5. Mortgages and Satisfaction Pieces

6. Property Information

7. Notary Public Information

1. GENERAL INFORMATION

WHAT ARE THE HOURS, LOCATION AND CONTACT INFORMATION FOR THE RECORDER OF DEEDS DIVISION?

The Recorder of Deeds Division is open Monday through Friday from 8:00 AM to 4:30 PM.

Please note: Same-day recording stops at 3:45 PM each day, except for Notary Commissions and Military Discharges (DD214) or documents not requiring PIN Certification.

The Clerk of Judicial Records File Review area is open Monday through Friday from 8:00 AM to 4:30 PM. Our office is closed on designated County holidays.

Our mailing address is:
        Recorder of Deeds Division
        Lehigh County Courthouse
        455 W. Hamilton St. Room 122
       Allentown, PA 18101

Our main office number is 610-782-3162. Our fax number is 610-871-2895 (effective 12/1/2011).

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HOW FAR BACK DO YOUR RECORDS GO?

Our records begin in 1812 when Lehigh County was formed. Prior to 1812, Lehigh County was part of Northampton County.

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ARE YOUR RECORDS AVAILABLE TO THE PUBLIC?

YES. All documents recorded in the Recorder of Deeds Division are public information, except for Military Discharges (DD214). Anyone can view and print any deed, mortgage or other documents recorded in the office.

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IS INFORMATION AVAILABLE OVER THE TELEPHONE?

General Recording Guidelines and the recording Fee Schedule can be obtained by telephone. Our office hours are 8:00 AM to 4:30 PM, Monday through Friday. Our phone number is 610-782-3162. You can also access this information from our web site, www.lehighcounty.org under Elected Officials, Clerk of Judicial Records, Recorder of Deeds Division.

Note: The Recorder of Deeds Division staff is not authorized to give legal advice or opinions, prepare documents or conduct a search of records to determine information about a specific piece of property. Please consult a qualified professional (attorney, title insurance company, realtor or surveyor) for these services.

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IS THERE A WEBSITE TO SEARCH ONLINE?

YES. For records from 1812 to present, there are three options for access. Visit LANDEX at www.landex.com/remote , www.landex.com/webstore (see below) or visit the Lehigh County Website at www.lehighcounty.org search under Services, Online Records Access, which requires you to establish an account with a yearly fee.

The LANDEX Remote access, www.landex.com/remote, is most beneficial for individuals or companies who expect to access our records on a regular basis or need comprehensive search capabilities. This is a pay per access service.

The LANDEX Webstore access, www.landex.com/webstore, is for infrequent searchers or those performing basic searches. The fee is $2.00 for the first page and $0.75 for each additional page plus a $5.00 per order handling fee.

For guidance on which access method is best for you contact the help line at LANDEfX at 800-370-2836.

Please note: certified copies are not available via internet access.

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HOW DO I OBTAIN A COPY OF A DOCUMENT ?

There are three ways to obtain a copy of a document (Fax requests are not accepted):

1. Via the Internet – See IS THERE A WEBSITE TO SEARCH ONLINE?

2. By mail – the request should state the type of document you are requesting. Include the volume and page # or the instrument # of the document and specify whether you want a regular copy or a certified copy of the document. Enclose a stamped, self-addressed envelope, and a check, payable to “Recorder of Deeds”. The copy fee is $1.00 per page. If you need the copy to be certified, the certification fee is $1.50 per document in addition to the copy fee. Please call our office at 610-782-3162 if you need to verify the page count or required fees.

Our mailing address is:
        Recorder of Deeds Division
        Lehigh County Courthouse
        455 W. Hamilton St. Room 122
        Allentown, PA 18101

3. Come into the office - the copy fee is $.25 per page. Certified copies are available and must be made by the staff at the time of certification. The certification fee is $1.50 per document in addition to the copy fee. We only accept cash, checks or money orders. Our office is open Monday thru Friday 8:00 am to 4:30 pm. Our office is closed on designated County holidays.

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WHAT TYPES OF DOCUMENTS ARE RECORDED IN THE RECORDER OF DEEDS DIVISION?

The Recorder of Deeds Division records and maintains many kinds of legal documents relating to real estate located in Lehigh County. In addition to real estate documents, we record notary public commissions, bonds and commissions for elected officials, powers of attorney, court orders, affidavits, and military discharges (DD-214)

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MAY I CONTACT YOUR OFFICE FOR LEGAL ADVICE REGARDING REAL ESTATE ISSUES?

NO. The Recorder of Deeds Division staff is not authorized to give legal advice or opinions, prepare documents or conduct a search of records to determine information about a specific piece of property. Please consult a qualified professional (attorney, title insurance company, realtor or surveyor) for these services.

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DOES YOUR OFFICE PERFORM TITLE SEARCHES?

NO. Often the Recorder of Deeds Division will receive requests from the public to prepare deeds for them, determine if there are any liens against their property, or determine if a piece of land has been subdivided. Office employees are not permitted to perform title searches.

A title search is a complicated process that includes searches in several other county offices.

If you desire to search on your own, we may instruct you how to use the various indices to the records on file, providing a starting point for you to access this information yourself.

The Recorder of Deeds Division staff is not authorized to give legal advice or opinions, prepare documents or conduct a search of records to determine information about a specific piece of property. Please consult a qualified professional (attorney, title insurance company, realtor or surveyor) for these services.

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DO YOU HAVE FORMS FOR A DEED OR POWER OF ATTORNEY?

NO. Please consult a qualified professional for assistance in preparing documents.

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WHAT METHODS OF PAYMENT DO YOU ACCEPT?

Cash, check or money order. We do not accept credit cards.

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HOW DO I OBTAIN A CERTIFIED COPY OF A DOCUMENT?

Certified copies are available only via mail or in person and must be made by the staff at the time of Certification. Please see HOW DO I OBTAIN A COPY OF A DOCUMENT?

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2. RECORDING DOCUMENTS

WHAT ARE THE WAYS TO RECORD A DOCUMENT IN THE RECORDER OF DEEDS DIVISION?

A document may be submitted for recording by coming in person to our office, submitting the document electronically via e-recording, or submitting the document by mail. The individual presenting the document must have the UPI property identification number/Parcel ID on the document. Please see our UPI FAQs for more information.

All papers presented for recording must be original documents and properly executed. All recording fees and realty transfer taxes are payable at the time of recording.

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HOW MANY CHECKS DO I NEED WHEN RECORDING A DEED?

If recording a deed with Realty Transfer Tax, Lehigh County now only requires one (1) check.  Recording fees, the local realty transfer tax and the state realty transfer tax may be combined on one check.  Multiple checks will continue to be accepted.  All checks are made payable to the “Recorder of Deeds”.

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MAY I RECORD BY MAIL?

YES. Make certain the document meets all recording requirements and Recording Guidelines. Enclose the proper checks, made payable to “Recorder of Deeds”, for the correct amounts along with a stamped, self-addressed envelope(s) for the return of your original documents, or for the return of unacceptable documents. See Recording Guidelines and Fee Schedule for more information.

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HOW DO I FIND OR VERIFY MY UPI NUMBER?

The UPI number/Parcel ID for each parcel of real estate in Lehigh County is found in the County Assessment Records. Assessment data is available on the Lehigh County website, www.lehighcounty.org under Services, Assessment Records. There are also public computers available for use in the Assessment Office and the Clerk of Judicial Records File Review area. Search using an owners name, a property location or UPI.

The UPI number/Parcel ID is made up of a PIN and PARNUM. The PIN format is a twelve (12) digit number (PIN) followed by the PARNUM which can be up to five (5) digits: Example -123456789123 1.

A PIN and PARNUM must be on each document when presented for recording. Please see our UPI FAQs for more information.

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WHERE ARE THE ORIGINAL DOCUMENTS SENT AFTER RECORDING?

The original documents are returned to the title company, attorney or person recording the document address. Documents are returned after all necessary office procedures have been completed.

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SHOULD I RECORD MY MILITARY DISCHARGE (DD214)?

YES. We recommend you record your DD214 in case the original is misplaced or destroyed. There is no charge and we can provide you with certified copies in the event you need them for various veteran benefits.

The DD214 is a confidential document; no one but the veteran, his family or a veteran organization official is permitted to look at these records. Photo identification must be presented in order to receive copies.

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3. DEEDS

CAN I PREPARE MY OWN DEED?

YES. However, we recommend you have someone with a certain expertise in the field prepare it for you to make sure it is correct and legal issues are addressed.

IMPORTANT: The Recorder of Deeds Division staff is not authorized to give legal advice or opinions, prepare documents or conduct a search of records to determine information about a specific piece of property. Please consult a qualified professional for these services.

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HOW DO I REPLACE A LOST OR DESTROYED DEED?

By obtaining a certified copy in our office. See HOW DO I OBTAIN A CERTIFIED COPY OF A DOCUMENT?
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HOW DO I CHANGE, ADD OR DELETE A NAME ON A DEED?

This can only be done by recording a new deed showing the change. Please consult an attorney.
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IS IT NECESSARY TO DELETE A DECEASED SPOUSE'S NAME ON A DEED?

It depends on the particular legal situation. Please consult an attorney.

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IF A WOMAN MARRIES, MUST SHE CHANGE HER NAME ON HER DEED?

It depends on the particular legal situation. Please consult an attorney.
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DO YOU HAVE A DEED FOR MY MOBILE HOME OR TRAILER?

NO. Please contact the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation for a title to your mobile home.

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IF I FIND A MISTAKE IN MY DEED, HOW DO I CORRECT IT?

The same way you change a name - by recording a new deed. Contact an attorney in this type of situation.

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IF I BUILD A HOUSE ON MY LOT, DO I GET A NEW DEED FOR THE HOUSE?

NO. The original deed covers any buildings erected on the lot at a later date.
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IS IT POSSIBLE TO KEEP A PROPERTY TRANSFER AND SELLING PRICE FROM APPEARING IN THE NEWSPAPER?

Recorder of Deeds Division cannot prevent newspapers or the public from accessing and sharing the information that is public record in our office. The only exception is Military Discharge/DD214 information (this is confidential).

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4. REALTY TRANSFER TAX

WHAT IS THE REALTY TRANSFER TAX?

Any document presented for recording where there is a transfer of an interest in real estate is subject to the Pennsylvania Realty Transfer Tax (RTT) at the rate of 2% of the actual consideration paid for the transfer. 1% goes to the PA Department of Revenue and 1% is split between the local Municipalities and School Districts. For questions regarding Realty Transfer Tax contact the Pennsylvania Department of Revenue at 717 783-8104.

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ARE ANY TRANSACTIONS EXEMPT FROM THE REALTY TRANSFER TAX?

YES. Though most transactions are taxable, some are tax exempt. Conveyances between husband and wife, parent and child, grandparent and grandchild, and brothers and sisters are generally exempt from transfer tax. There are some other exemptions allowed in certain situations. Consult an attorney or contact the Pennsylvania Department of Revenue at 717 783-8104 with questions on exemptions.

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5. MORTGAGES AND SATISFACTION PIECES

HOW DO I CHECK FOR LIENS AGAINST MY PROPERTY?

Mortgages are the only types of liens recorded in the Recorder of Deeds Division. A mortgage is a loan signed for by the property owner. For information on mortgages contact the Recorder of Deeds Division at 610-782-3162.

Other liens are filed in the Civil Division. Contact their office at 610-782-3148 or visit their website at www.lehighcounty.org under Elected Officials, Clerk of Judicial Records, Civil Division.

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AFTER A MORTGAGE LOAN IS COMPLETELY PAID, DOES THE RECORDER OF DEEDS SEND THE DEED TO THE PROPERTY OWNER?

NO. You should have received the original deed when you first purchased the property. See HOW DO I OBTAIN A COPY OF A DOCUMENT?.

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HOW IS A MORTGAGE SATISFIED?

The lender upon receiving all of the money due under the terms of your loan is required to draft a satisfaction piece to be recorded in the Recorder of Deeds Division.

After making the final payment, contact your lender to see how the satisfaction of the loan will be handled.

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IF I RECEIVE AN UNRECORDED SATISFACTION PIECE IN THE MAIL FROM MY LENDER, WHAT DO I DO?

The document should be recorded in the Recorder of Deeds Division. Please see our Fee Schedule, WHAT ARE THE WAYS TO RECORD A DOCUMENT IN THE RECORDER OF DEEDS DIVISION? or call our office for more information.

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6. PROPERTY INFORMATION

HOW CAN I CHECK THE OWNER OF A PROPERTY?

To check the name of an owner based on a property address, contact the Lehigh County Assessment Office at 610-782-3038 or visit their website at www.lehighcounty.org under Services, choose Assessment Records and follow the instructions.

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HOW DO I CHECK DEED RESTRICTIONS ON MY PROPERTY?

Restrictions on property can come from a variety of sources. It is generally best to have someone with some degree of expertise in this field, like a professional title searcher, help you determine any restrictions on your property.

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HOW DO I DETERMINE THE BOUNDARIES OF MY PROPERTY LINE?

Your deed will give you the legal description of your property but a surveyor is needed to use this information to actually locate your property lines. In some cases surveyors can locate markers that have already been placed when the lot was originally surveyed. We recommend that you have someone with some degree of expertise in this field, like a professional surveyor, help you determine the boundary lines of your property.

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HOW DO I CHECK FOR AN EASEMENT OR RIGHT OF WAY ON MY PROPERTY?

An easement or right of way on property can come from a variety of sources. Our office contains some of this information, but even this information can only be discovered by doing a title search of your property. It is generally best to have someone with some degree of expertise in this field, like a professional title searcher, help you determine any easement or right of way on your property.

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HOW DO I DETERMINE THE AGE OF MY HOUSE?

It is difficult to determine the age of a house by checking deeds since a deed is typically intended to describe land and not the buildings erected on the land. The Lehigh County Assessment Office may be helpful for information. See the Lehigh County website, www.lehighcounty.org, under Services, Assessment Records or contact them at 610-782-3038.

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7. NOTARY PUBLIC INFORMATION

HOW DO I BECOME A NOTARY PUBLIC?

Contact your PA State Senator or obtain information from the PA Department of State, click on Notaries.  The phone number for the Notary Division in Harrisburg is 717-787-5280.

Once you completed the requirements for appointment as a notary public by the Commonwealth of PA, you have the responsibility to obtain a surety bond from a licensed insurance agent and to present all of your paperwork to the Recorder of Deeds Office within 45 days of appointment. The fee for recording a notary bond and commission is $33.50. After your commission is recorded, you must register your signature with the Civil Division and their fee is $4.00.

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AS A NOTARY, WHAT DO I DO IF I CHANGE MY NAME OR ADDRESS?

If you legally change your name or address, you must record the appropriate form with the Recorder of Deeds of the County where you recorded your original commission. The fee to file a notary name change or address change in Lehigh County is $18.50 each. You also must also notify the PA Department of State of these changes. See their website, www.dos.state.pa.us/notaries , for forms and further instructions.

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