What Happens If You Lose a Quit Claim Deed?

by Bob Haring, Demand Media

    Two types of deeds are used to transfer homes and property from a seller to a buyer. You'll usually get a warranty deed when you close on a new home. This puts the entire property in your name. Sometimes, however, purchases are made with a quit claim deed, which transfers only the interest the seller has in that property. For instance, with a quit claim deed, you'll assume any loan or other payments.

    Recording Is Important

    A quit claim deed has to be signed by both buyer and seller. Most importantly, it has to be recorded. In some states a quit claim deed is not legally recognized until it is filed with a recording office. That may be a county recorder, a register of documents or a county clerk, depending on the state. You need to make sure your deed is recorded so a copy will always be on file and available.

    Where the Original Goes

    Once a quit claim deed is recorded, you should get your original back, unless there is a mortgage. The lender will get the original if there is a loan. You should also get a copy, usually including recording information.

    Proving Ownership

    How you prove ownership if you lose your quit claim deed will vary by state. Some states accept title insurance as proof. In California, tax records are accepted in most counties as proof. If you can show you paid real estate taxes or your name is on the tax books as owner, that will usually suffice.

    Notify All Parties

    If the original deed is lost, you should notify the seller, the recording office and any lenders or others who have claims on the property. Quit claims are often used to transfer only one owner's interest if property is jointly owned. If the quit claim deed was never recorded, you will probably have to locate the seller and create another document.

    About the Author

    Bob Haring has been a news writer and editor for more than 50 years, mostly with the Associated Press and then as executive editor of the Tulsa, Okla. "World." Since retiring he has written freelance stories and a weekly computer security column. Haring holds a Bachelor of Journalism from the University of Missouri.