New Real Estate Recording Fees Goes In Effect In California - Jan 1st 2018 Share
December 12, 2017
The California Legislature recently passed, and the Governor signed into law, the Building Homes and Jobs Act (also known as “SB 2”), instituting an additional recording fee surcharge on some real estate documents recorded after January 1, 2018.
Subject to some important exemptions, the currently applicable county recording fees will increase on January 1st by $75 per real estate instrument, per each single transaction, per parcel of real property, but not to exceed a maximum surcharge of $225 per single transaction. This is in addition to other recording fees that may apply to a document.
The types of “real estate” documents that will be subject to the additional fees include the following: deed, grant deed, trustee’s deed, deed of trust, reconveyance, quitclaim 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 CC&Rs.
Documents Expressly Exempted From SB 2 Fees
The additional fee will NOT be charged on any real estate instrument, paper, or notice:
- that is recorded in connection with a transfer subject to the imposition of a documentary transfer tax (DTT); and/or
- that is recorded in connection with a transfer of real property that is a residential dwelling to an owner-occupier.
This means that the SB 2 fee will not be charged on common sale transactions subject to DTT, nor on transfers of residential properties to be owner-occupied, but the fee will be charged on documents recorded in connection with refinance transactions.
Also, no additional SB 2 fees will be charged: (1) to record other types of documents not related to real property, or (2) once the fee cap of $225 has been reached on real estate-related documents.
Documents believed to be exempt from paying the $75 fee must be accompanied by a declaration of valid exemption specifying the reason for exemption from the fee, either on the face of the document or on a coversheet which becomes part of the recorded document, when submitted for recording. Some counties (e.g., San Diego) have generated forms for use in declaring exemptions, but there is not yet a standardized form available.
Failure to include an exemption reason will result in the imposition of the $75 SB 2 fee, and any fees collected are deposited to the state and may not be available for refund.
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