Effective January 1, 1997 all documents submitted for recording in Washington State must conform to standards set by RCW 36.18 and RCW 65.04. A cover sheet is required for documents in which the first page does not contain the necessary index fields or a three inch top margin. All pages must conform to formatting requirements for margins, page size, font size, color, legibility, seals and attachments. A cover sheet will not relieve you of the responsibility of meeting the formatting requirements for all subsequent pages. Documents which do not meet the requirements will be returned for reformatting before they will be recorded.
The first page of the document, or the cover sheet, must include the following information: (The phrase "see attached" or anything similar is not acceptable - the actual information needs to be in the proper blanks.)
- Abbreviated Legal Description
- Assessor’s Parcel Number
- Reference Number
- Return address (top left corner)
- All fields and information must be legible and capable of being imaged.
- First page shall include a three-inch top margin, one-inch bottom and one-inch side margins. If a cover sheet is used, it is considered the first page.
- All pages following the first page must have one-inch margins on all sides. Nothing may appear in these margins. (This includes notary seals.)
- Nothing may be affixed to any page of the document (such as a stapled, taped or glued legal description).
- Page size may be no larger than 8 1/2 inches by 14 inches.
- Font size must be at least 8 point.
- Seals must be legible and capable of being imaged (pressure seals must be smudged).
- Documents which were signed prior to January 1, 1997 do not need to be re-formatted for recording. Instead, a cover sheet will be required.
Filing a Nonstandard Document
RCW 65.04.048 Documents which must be recorded immediately and which do not meet margin and font size requirements may be recorded for an additional fee of fifty dollars ($50). Documents which do not meet legibility requirements must not be recorded as a nonstandard recording. In addition to preparing a properly completed cover sheet as described in RCW 65.04.047, the person preparing the document for recording must sign a statement which must be attached to the document and which must read substantially as follows: "I am requesting an emergency nonstandard recording for an additional fee as provided in RCW 36.18.010. I understand that the recording processing requirements may cover up or otherwise obscure some part of the text of the original document."
To file a nonstandard document, in addition to the document to be filed, there must be a Washington State Recorder’s Cover Sheet (PDF). This page will add an additional dollar to the filing fee.
If you have any questions or would like feedback on a reformatted document, please call 509-397-6270.