Legal-Ease: What does it mean that your documents are being electronically recorded?

Electronic recording, also known as e-recording, is a method of delivering and returning executed documents electronically to a county recorder from a submitter.

Every state in the United States allows some type of e-recording. Vermont became the final state to allow e-recording, finally passing legislation in July 2022 that allowed eRecording and electronic and remote notarizations.

E-recording in Ohio has been around for more than 20 years. However, in more recent years, e-recording has become more widely accepted by local county recorders. Each county recorder has different items accepted through e-recording. While some county recorders will accept all documents, other county recorders will only accept non-conveyance documents, such as mortgages or liens.

Since the actual recording of the document is still done by the county recorder, it is up to each county recorder’s office in Ohio to establish what it will accept by e-recording. Therefore, even though more and more counties allow e-recording, not all counties allow every document to be e-recorded. Submitters have to verify with each county recorder before the submission of documents.

The biggest advantage of e-recording is the speed in which a document can be recorded. When a submitter uses e-recording, documents tend to be recorded faster than if a submitter were to physically record documents in person with the county recorder. A submitter can submit documents for e-recording outside of the business hours of the county recorder. When the county recorder’s office opens, the documents are there waiting for the county recorder to record.

Traditionally, if a submitter wanted to record documents without physically going to the courthouse, there was only one other option. This option was to mail the documents to the county offices using a service such as UPS, USPS or FedEx. Once documents were recorded, the county offices would then mail the documents back to the submitter. While the mail-in process of recording is still widely accepted by county recorders offices across the state, it naturally takes longer than physical recording and is quite a bit slower than e-recording.

E-recording is a service option that is not available for personal or one-time document recording. This is due to having to set up an account with an e-recording service provider that is accepted by the county recorder. Thus, e-recording is a service that is usually utilized by title companies, lawfirms, banks and other businesses that do routine recording of documents.

One drawback of e-recording is not having the physical original document stamped by the county offices upon recording. While all the county offices will still be stamping the electronic version of the document (which can be printed), the hard copy/original of the document will still not have the labels and signatures that would appear on a document had it been physically delivered either via courier or mail to a county recorder.

Essentially e-recording is a delivery process that has been around in Ohio for decades but is growing in use across the state. It is used to avoid having the submitter physically go to the county recorder.

Nichole Y. Shafer is an Ohio-licensed attorney at Schroeder Law LTD in Putnam County. She limits her practice to business, real estate, estate planning and agriculture issues in northwest Ohio. She can be reached at [email protected] or at 419-659-2058. This article is not intended to serve as legal advice, and specific advice should be sought from the licensed attorney of your choice based upon the specific facts and circumstances that you face.