PRIA Issues Best Practices for Recording Queue Management

March 26, 2020

Responding to state or local stay-at-home orders, many recording jurisdictions have closed their operations or reduced hours, staffing and/or services. The closures or limited hours have hindered the timely recording of real estate transactions and other documents in the public records.

Recognizing that the title and mortgage finance industries depend heavily on the recording jurisdictions’ documentation as essential functions for their businesses and for the consumer, the Property Records Industry Association (PRIA) issued best practices to help recording jurisdictions manage the volume of documents they are receiving.

  1. Recorders need to make available on their website entry screen exactly what their policies are and what information is available via their website; this information should be updated daily.
  2. If your office is closed to the public, that means all public. Put procedures in place for document drop offs and courier services (such as a lock box in your lobby), mail delivery and pickup. Do not allow individual searchers or people seeking to record a document to enter.
  3. Wherever possible, allow majority of staff to work remotely. If you don’t currently have that capacity, consult with your LRMS vendor and your IT department and implement promptly.
  4. Consider swing/split shifts (for example: 6 a.m. to 2 p.m. and 2:30 p.m. to 10:30 p.m. for staff working in the office, with plenty of spacing). Also consider overnight and weekend hours for staff.
  5. As much as is possible, process documents by the date-received order. This practice includes all incoming submissions (eRecording, mail, courier services and drop offs). If your office is still open to the general public, acknowledge that in person documents may be recorded before other incoming documents. Try to minimize that situation by keeping in person document processing to 1-3 documents. Encourage document drop off instead.
  6. Prepare carefully labelled piles/stacks of documents by date and times. Suggested timings: before 10 a.m., 10 a.m. – 3 p.m., after 3 p.m.
  7. Provide online/out-of-office search capabilities at least back to 1990 (30 years) for both indexes and document images. If you don’t yet have that capability, work to implement it promptly.
  8. Open your eRecording avenues to all organized/recognized eRecording providers. It can be construed as favoritism to allow only one eRecording provider, once past an initial one-month testing period.
  9. Find as many ways as possible to streamline your recording, indexing and archiving process. For example, you can wait to return documents by mail or pick up until the bulk of the backlog is eliminated, as long as you have the search capacity online. You should work with other county offices to ensure smooth operations for recording transfer documents.

Contact ALTA at 202-296-3671 or