As of January 1, 2018, California now imposes another fee “at the time of recording of every real estate instrument, paper, or notice required or permitted by law to be recorded.” (California Government Code Section (“Gov. Code”) § 27388.1.) Specifically, “in addition to any other recording fees specified in this code” California now charges an additional seventy-five ($75.00) fee “per each single transaction per parcel of real property.” (Id.)
This section of the Code defines “real estate instrument, paper, or notice” as follows:
a document relating to real property, including, but not limited to, the following: deed, grant deed, trustee’s deed, deed of trust, reconveyance, quit claim deed, fictitious deed of trust, assignment of deed of trust, request for notice of default, abstract of judgment, subordination agreement, declaration of homestead, abandonment of homestead, notice of default, release or discharge, easement, notice of trustee sale, notice of completion, UCC financing statement, mechanic’s lien, maps, and covenants, conditions, and restrictions.
The recording fees imposed by Gov. Code § 27388.1 is capped at two hundred twenty-five dollars ($225.00). The fee appears to be applied as follows. In the event someone deeds a parcel of land in a single instrument (i.e. via a Grant Deed), then the $75.00 fee would apply. If, however, someone deeds over several parcels of land (let’s say 5 parcels) in a single instrument, then the recording fees would be capped at $225.00. The result is different, however, in a scenario where five parcels of land are deeded over in five different instruments. In this scenario, the fee would instead be $375.00 ($75.00 times 5 parcels).
There are several exceptions to keep in mind. They are found in the Sections 27388.1(a)(2)(A-D) of the Government Code. Or, you can find them in this Of note, although a transaction may be exempted from a documentary transfer tax, this new additional fee may still apply.
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By Randy Aguirre, esq.