Code of the District of Columbia

Subchapter III. Compulsory Recordation of Transfers of Real Property.


§ 47–1431. In general.

(a) Within 30 days after the execution of a deed or other document by which legal title to real property, an estate for life or a lease or ground rent (including renewals) for a term that is at least 30 years, or an economic interest in real property is transferred, or after a security interest in a real property is given pursuant to a construction loan deed of trust or mortgage or a permanent loan deed of trust or mortgage, or by which a security interest in the real property is conveyed, all transferees of, and all holders of the security interest in, real property shall record a fully acknowledged copy of the deed or other document, including the lot and square number of the real property transferred or encumbered, with the Recorder of Deeds of the District of Columbia. If the 30th day is a Saturday, Sunday, or legal holiday, the time limitation for recording shall be extended to include the first day after the 30th day which is not a Saturday, Sunday, or legal holiday.

(b) Whenever any portion of an instrument, which conveys or provides for the conveyance of equitable title to a real property, is transferred by or on behalf of a party to such instrument to a 3rd party, then the party so transferring shall record, at the same time as provided by subsection (a) of this section, a fully-acknowledged copy of said instrument, including the lot and square number of the real property transferred, with the Recorder of Deeds of the District of Columbia, and the 3rd party shall record, at the same time as provided by subsection (a) of this section, with the Recorder of Deeds of the District of Columbia a fully-acknowledged instrument, including the lot and square number of the property transferred, evidencing the transfer to himself (or herself or itself as the case may be). All subsequent transfers of equitable title made prior to the transfer of legal title shall be recorded by each subsequent transferee thereto, in the same manner and at the same time as provided in subsection (a) of this section.


(July 13, 1978, D.C. Law 2-91, § 301, 24 DCR 9765; Sept. 13, 1980, D.C. Law 3-92, § 102, 27 DCR 3390; June 14, 1994, D.C. Law 10-128, § 102, 41 DCR 2096; enacted, Apr. 9, 1997, D.C. Law 11-254, § 2, 44 DCR 1575; June 9, 2001, D.C. Law 13-305, § 505(f), 48 DCR 334; Apr. 4, 2003, D.C. Law 14-282,§ 11(nn), 50 DCR 896.)

Prior Codifications

1981 Ed., § 47-1431.

1973 Ed., § 47-3313.

Section References

This section is referenced in § 42-1103, § 47-813, § 47-845.03, § 47-850.02, § 47-863, § 47-903, § 47-1401, § 47-1432, and § 47-1433.

Effect of Amendments

D.C. Law 13-305, in subsec. (a), inserted “, or an estate for life or a lease or ground rent (including renewals) for a term that is at least 30 years” and substituted “all transferees of, and all holders of the security interest in,” for “all transferees of the legal or economic interest in the real estate and all holders of the security interest in”.

D.C. Law 14-282, in subsec. (a), substituted “, an estate for life” for “or an estate for life.

Cross References

Deed recordation tax, recordation procedures, see § 42-1106.

Deed recordation tax, required records, power to investigate, see § 42-1105.

Emergency Legislation

For temporary (90 day) amendment of section, see § 5(f) of Real Property Tax Clarity and Litter Control Administration Emergency Act of 2001 (D.C. Act 14-22, March 16, 2001, 48 DCR 2706).

For temporary (90 day) amendment of section, see § 12(rr) of Tax Clarity and Recorder of Deeds Emergency Act of 2002 (D.C. Act 14-381, June 6, 2002, 49 DCR 5674).

For temporary (90 day) amendment of section, see § 12(ss) of Tax Clarity and Related Amendments Emergency Act of 2002 (D.C. Act 14-456, July 23, 2002, 49 DCR 8107).

For temporary (90 day) amendment of section, see § 12(ss) of Tax Clarity and Related Amendments Congressional Review Emergency Act of 2002 (D.C. Act 14-510, October 23, 2002, 49 DCR 10247).

Temporary Legislation

For temporary (225 day) amendment of section, see § 5(g) of Real Property Tax Clarity and Litter Control Administration Temporary Amendment Act of 2001 (D.C. Law 14-8, June 13, 2001, law notification 48 DCR 5916).

For temporary (225 day) amendment of section, see § 12(ss) of Tax Clarity and Recorder of Deeds Temporary Act of 2002 (D.C. Law 14-191, October 5, 2002, law notification 49 DCR 9549).

For temporary (225 day) amendment of section, see § 12(ss) of Tax Clarity and Related Amendments Temporary Act of 2003 (D.C. Law 14-228, March 23, 2003, law notification 50 DCR 2741).


§ 47–1432. Presumptions and burden of proof.

For the purpose of proper administration of this subchapter and to prevent evasion of the recordation requirements, the Mayor shall presume that all transfers, as described in § 47-1431, are required to be recorded. The burden shall be upon the person required to record to prove that a deed or any other document is exempt from the recordation requirement.


(July 13, 1978, D.C. Law 2-91, § 302, 24 DCR 9765; enacted, Apr. 9, 1997, D.C. Law 11-254, § 2, 44 DCR 1575.)

Prior Codifications

1981 Ed., § 47-1432.

1973 Ed., § 47-3314.


§ 47–1433. Violations.

(a) Where a dealer fails to record, as required by § 47-1431, and such failure is due to negligence, there shall be imposed on said dealer, a penalty of $25 for each month or portion thereof that such failure continues, not to exceed $250.

(b) Repealed.

(c) If a person fails to record the deed or other document, as required by § 47-1431, there shall be imposed on the person an additional penalty in the amount of $250. The penalty provided herein shall not be imposed if the deed or other document is a security instrument. The Mayor may waive the penalty in accordance with § 47-4221.

(d) Repealed.

(e) The penalty fees provided under this section shall be collected at the same time and in the same manner and as a part of the deed recordation tax. If the transaction is exempt from the deed recordation tax, then the Mayor shall collect the fees in a manner prescribed by the Mayor.

(f) If the Mayor determines that a person has failed to record or has failed to pay any fee as required by this chapter, the procedures set forth in § 42-1108 [repealed] shall apply.

(g) Nothing in this chapter shall authorize the imposition of a penalty for the failure to record a deed or any instrument that conveys legal title to real property, if failure to record is due solely to the refusal of the Recorder of Deeds to record the deed or other instrument based on the existence of a lien against the property for unpaid water, sanitary sewer, or meter service charges.


(July 13, 1978, D.C. Law 2-91, § 303, 24 DCR 9765; Apr. 30, 1988, D.C. Law 7-104, § 35(b), 35 DCR 147; June 13, 1990, D.C. Law 8-136, § 6, 37 DCR 2620; enacted, Apr. 9, 1997, D.C. Law 11-254, § 2, 44 DCR 1575; June 9, 2001, D.C. Law 13-305, § 505(g), 48 DCR 334; Apr. 4, 2003, D.C. Law 14-282,§ 11(oo), 50 DCR 896.)

Prior Codifications

1981 Ed., § 47-1433.

1973 Ed., § 47-3315.

Section References

This section is referenced in § 47-4221.

Effect of Amendments

D.C. Law 13-305, in subsec. (c), rewrote the first sentence which had read: “Where a person other than a dealer fails to record, as required by 47-1431, there shall be imposed on such person a penalty in the amount of $10 for each month or portion thereof that such failure continues, not to exceed $50.”

D.C. Law 14-282 rewrote subsec. (c) which had read as follows: “(c) If a person other than a dealer fails to record, as required by § 47-1431, there shall be imposed on the person a penalty in the amount of $250. Whenever it is shown by such person that failure to record was due to reasonable cause and was not due to knowing omission or neglect, the Mayor may waive part of or all of the penalty fee provided by this subsection. In every case of a partial or total waiver, the reason for the waiver shall be stated clearly on a public record determined by the Mayor.”

Emergency Legislation

For temporary (90 day) amendment of section, see § 5(g) of Real Property Tax Clarity and Litter Control Administration Emergency Act of 2001 (D.C. Act 14-22, March 16, 2001, 48 DCR 2706).

For temporary (90 day) amendment of section, see § 12§§ of Tax Clarity and Recorder of Deeds Emergency Act of 2002 (D.C. Act 14-381, June 6, 2002, 49 DCR 5674).

For temporary (90 day) amendment of section, see § 12(tt) of Tax Clarity and Related Amendments Emergency Act of 2002 (D.C. Act 14-456, July 23, 2002, 49 DCR 8107).

For temporary (90 day) amendment of section, see § 12(tt) of Tax Clarity and Related Amendments Congressional Review Emergency Act of 2002 (D.C. Act 14-510, October 23, 2002, 49 DCR 10247).

Temporary Legislation

For temporary (225 day) amendment of section, see § 5(h) of Real Property Tax Clarity and Litter Control Administration Temporary Amendment Act of 2001 (D.C. Law 14-8, June 13, 2001, law notification 48 DCR 5916).

For temporary (225 day) amendment of section, see § 12(tt) of Tax Clarity and Recorder of Deeds Temporary Act of 2002 (D.C. Law 14-191, October 5, 2002, law notification 49 DCR 9549).

For temporary (225 day) amendment of section, see § 12(tt) of Tax Clarity and Related Amendments Temporary Act of 2003 (D.C. Law 14-228, March 23, 2003, law notification 50 DCR 2741).

Editor's Notes

Mayor authorized to issue rules: Section 8 of D.C. Law 8-136 provided that within 60 days of June 13, 1990, the Mayor shall, pursuant to subchapter I of Chapter 5 of Title 2, issue proposed rules to implement the provisions of this act including rules regarding deposits, meters, liens, the sale and redemption of real property, the amnesty program, receivership, termination of water and sewer services, and administrative review; that the proposed rules shall be submitted to the Council for a 45-day period of review, excluding Saturdays, Sundays, legal holidays, and days of Council recess, and, if the Council does not approve or disapprove the proposed rules, in whole or in part, by resolution within this 45-day period, the proposed rules shall be deemed approved; and that if after 90 days from June 13, 1990 the Mayor has failed to issue proposed rules to implement the provisions of this act as provided in subsection (a) of this section, the Council may adopt any legislation necessary to accomplish the purposes of this act.

Delegation of Authority

Delegation of authority under D.C. Law 8-136, the “D.C. Water and Sewer Operations Act of 1990.”, see Mayor’s Order 91-176, Oct. 24, 1991.