CISA: County Recorders ‘Essential’ in Updated Guidance

March 30, 2020

The Cybersecurity & Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) updated its guidance to include government offices that assist title searches and recording services as essential and should remain open during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Thanks to efforts by ALTA and state land title associations, CISA guidance now includes the following under the Other Community- Or Government-Based Operations And Essential Functions that are deemed essential:

  • Staff at government offices who perform title search, notary, and recording services in support of mortgage and real estate services and transactions.

This action follows a statement issued by U.S. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin when he said that “‘if you work in a critical infrastructure sector, as defined by the Department of Homeland Security, you have a special responsibility to maintain your normal work schedule.”

On March 27, ALTA and several other trade groups sent a letter to governors, counties and other officials urging them to keep county recorders open during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The letter encouraged that businesses and government agencies supporting the financial services and housing industries as well as home construction, home sales and renovation services be deemed essential services. The organizations also noted that necessary services related to housing include title searches, appraisals, permitting, inspections, housing materials and improvement retailers, moving, as well as the recording, legal, financial and other services needed to complete the sale or construction of housing.

In addition, several state land title associations submitted letters requesting offices of county recorders, registers of deeds and auditors remain open in order to facilitate the conveyance of property or the refinance of mortgages.

Contact ALTA at 202-296-3671 or [email protected].