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King County Recorder's Office

King County Recorder's Office
500 Fourth Ave., Suite 430
Seattle, WA 98104

206-477-6620
206-205-8396 FAX

kcrocust@kingcounty.gov

Frequently asked questions

 
I'm having problems connecting to the Records Search. Can you help me?
Here are a few tips to aid you in resolving your problem:

1. Make sure you meet the minimum system requirements.
Records Search requires Javascript support which is standard in Internet Explorer and Netscape Navigator, versions 4.0 and above.
Internet Explorer 4.0 - 6.0 are fully functional as well as Netscape 4.0 - 6.2 excluding version 6.0.
(Significant compatibility problems exist with Netscape 6.0; most appear to be resolved with version 6.2).
If you are using AOL or other alternate browsers and are experiencing problems, try using Internet Explorer.
Cookie's must be enabled, at least per session.
If you are able to get to the Legal Acceptance page but after clicking 'Accept' are given a message that the page cannot be displayed or are instead redirected to the declined page, check for cookie support. With Internet Explorer 6, go to 'Tools, Internet Options, Privacy' and make sure that the setting is not higher than Medium High or add it (146.129.54.93) to your trusted sites list under the Security tab.

To view online forms and standards (pdf) you need to download and install the Adobe Reader. To view document images you need an image viewer for the image format you choose. For pdf version, you will need Adobe Reader (external link on image format selection page). For the tif version you can use the Imaging for Windows viewer that comes with Windows98, NT4, or later.

2. Isolate the problem to one of three areas: your computer, your network, the King County Recorders website.
Are other people in your area able to access the records search? If so, problem is your computer.
Are people outside of your area able to access the records search but people within your area are not able or are denied access (home, other company, etc) ?
The most common problem is your network firewall blocking non-standard port 8193. We are obligated to use this port for security reasons. You will be able to view the King County Recorders Office main page but are not able to connect to the Records Search application. Contact your network support group about accessing ip/port:146.129.54.93:8193. (Network Admins - firewalls, proxy servers, content management servers, ICAP servers, etc.)
Are any users able to access the records search? System problems on any of three production servers may prevent access for a short period while problems are being resolved. If availability is anticipated to be limited for an extended period, an informational message will be posted on the top of the home page. (http://www.metrokc.gov/recelec/records/default.htm)

3. Clear your local browser cache.
(Internet Explorer) Go to tools, internet options, general, delete files (temporary internet files). (Netscape) Go to edit, preferences, advanced, cache, clear disk cache.

4. Finally, if you are unable to resolve your problem, use the 'Customer Service Questions' link at the bottom of each page. Provide specifics for the operating system and version, browser and version, and internet connection method (corporate network, dial-up, highspeed-cable, etc) as well as results of testing from step 2.

5. The 'Comments' link at the very bottom of each page goes to the King County Web Team and is a required link on all King County web pages. These comments will be forwarded to us when they are reviewed.

 
I keep trying to access the records search but it keeps not progressing to the next page, it just refreshes the current page and clears all entries after I click submit.
This problem occurs if you have disabled cookies. If you are using Internet Explorer version 6 or above, you can enable cookies for this site only by going to tools, internet options, privacy, edit and add 146.129.54.93 and click "allow". This will only allow cookies to be stored on your system from the records search application.
 
Does the records search web site require that I allow cookies on my computer?

Yes, in order for you to be able to request individual searches, the application needs to be able to uniquely process these requests. The application assigns a random id number (session id) and uses this to identify and return results to the requester. This cookie is stored on your computer and is sent when you request data or images and expires each time your session ends. If you are concerned about allowing cookies on your system, you can turn on support for cookies when you visit this and other sites which require session id's by going to the security tab in your browser and adding (146.129.54.93) to the trusted sites list and deleting it when you have finished.

You can perform a test of cookie support by clicking here: Cookie Test.

 
Do you have any satellite offices?
No, but copies of recorded documents are also available at the King County Archives.
 
What are your address, hours, and phone number?
 
Do you have birth and death records?
No. Please contact Vital Statistics at (206) 296-4768
 
How do I get a copy of my deed? (or any other recorded instrument)

If the document was recorded from August 1, 1991 to present, you can mail a Recorder's Office Copy Request Form or visit the Recorder's Office in person. If mailing a request form, please furnish seller and/or buyer's name, date of purchase, and send the correct fees only if you know exactly how many pages the record is.

If the document was recorded from 1853 to July 31, 1991, you can request copies from the King County Archives.

 
I tried to request a document from 1971 but got no results. Am I doing something wrong?
No, there are no indexes or images online for that time period.  The online index is available from 1976 to present.  Images of documents are vailable from 1991 to present.  Indexes prior to 1976 and images prior to 1991 are on microfilm and must be requested from the King County Archives.
 
Do you have divorce records?

No. Divorce decrees are filed with the King County Clerk. You may contact them at clerksofficecustomerservice@kingcounty.gov or 206-296-9300.

Additionally, divorce certificates (1968-present only) are available from the Washington State Center for Health Statistics (external link).

Divorce case files and decrees (1853-1971) are also available from the Puget Sound Regional Branch of the Washington State Archives (external link).

 
How long is the lag between the time a document is recorded and when it is available on the website?
The website uses the same databases that our production application uses and indexing is available the second it is recorded using information that is entered at the time of recording. The image is available when the document is scanned sometime before the end of the day. Additional indexing information is available when the document has been through our indexing department.
 
Why do some records return more detail than others?
Over the past 25 years, recording data has been collected from various computer systems. The detail captured by each varies. All information from old systems was transferred to new systems as it was entered in the past.
 
I am trying to print an Excise Tax Affidavit but it keeps printing 8 x 11 (standard). How do I change the size to 8 x 14 (legal)?
This is a user selection the same as any word processing document or anything that is printed where you need to select the size of paper. Go to 'File;Print;Properties;Paper Size; Legal (8 1/2 X 14 in)' and then print.  You need to have legal sized paper available in your printer.
 
How can a person change names on a property title?

When adding someone to title, or changing names on title, people will generally record a conveyance document/deed. You can get blank legal documents at stationary or office supply stores. It needs to be completed and notarized. In addition to that, you will need to complete a Real Estate Excise Tax Affidavit and depending on the type of transaction, you may also need an Excise Tax Supplemental Statement. These two forms can be downloaded from our website Please carefully review the Supplemental Statement which determines whether or not your transaction is taxable.

Once completed, you would bring these forms in to be processed and recorded. Our fees, hours of operation and location can be found on our website. If you need legal advice, please contact an attorney. You can also contact a title insurance company for some assistance.

If you have any further questions for our office, please contact us at 206-296-1570.

 
How do I get a document removed from public access?

Once a document is recorded with the Recorder’s Office, it is part of permanent public record. However, if a document is recorded with a personal identifier such as social security number, mother’s maiden name, or driver’s license number, it can be restricted from access on our website.

If you have a document with one of these personal identifiers in the body of the document, you can have its access restricted by filling out the “Remove Image from Webpage” form available from our Online Forms and Document Standards page located at http://www.kingcounty.gov/business/Recorders/OnlineFormsandDocumentStandards.aspx. We will then record the form and restrict access to that specific document from our website.

 
How can one get and record a quit-claim deed, and long will it take?
You can obtain blank Quit Claim Deed forms from office supply stores and some commercial websites. The fee for recording is $72 for the first page and $1 for each additional page. The turnaround time can vary depending on how the document is presented to us.
 
What are some of the documents that the King County Recorder's Office restricts online?
Some records, including deeds of trust, are not available online to prevent misuse of any personal information they might contain. Copies of those records are available at the King County Recorder's Office or at the King County Archives

DOCUMENT TYPES CURRENTLY RESTRICTED:
DEATH CERTIFICATE
DEED OF TRUST
FEDERAL TAX LIEN-NOTICE OF
FTL REVOCATION OF RELEASE
FTL WITHDRAWAL
JUDGMENT
LIEN
LIS PENDENS
MARRIAGE LICENSE APP
MARRIAGE CERTIFICATE
NO FEE LIEN
POWER OF ATTORNEY
PARTIAL RELEASE
FTL RELEASE OF FEDERAL TAX LIEN
RELEASE OR SATISFACTION OF LIEN
RELEASE OF NO FEE LIEN
VETERAN SEPARATION
UCC FILING
UCC AMENDMENT
UCC CONTINUATION
UCC PARTIAL RELEASE
UCC TERMINATION
 
Do you accept faxed requests or fax copies back?
No. We only accept mailed in requests that will be returned by mail. If you are mailing in a request for recording, please do not include a return envelope with your documents. It will be separated from the documents and discarded because of the high-speed scanning process we use to image your documents.
 
Has the indexing of federal tax liens changed recently?
The King County Recorder's Office Web site clarified the term "federal tax lien" to "federal tax lien - notice of" on the Web site drop-down menu which is the title on the image of the document.
This minor change to the document description (not the actual document title) was done to facilitate public access. This in no way changes the document code, the functionality of the document or the intent of the recording and does not impact Federal Tax Lien documents already recorded.
 
What are your fees?
 
How do I get a copy of my marriage certificate?

In person:

Visit the King County Recorder's Office or the King County Archives, and you can get your copies the same day. Certificates are available at $3.00 per certified copy or $1.00 per noncertified copy.  Payment by cash, check or money order is accepted.

By mail:

For marriages between August 1, 1991 and present, please fill out the Recorder's Office Copy Request Form and include the names of the parties and the date of marriage.  Also include the correct fee ($3.00 per certified copy or $1.00 per noncertified copy) by check or money order only. Requests will be processed within 5 days of being received.

For marriages between 1853 and July 31, 1991, please fill out the Archives Copy Request Form and include the correct fees ($3.00 per certified copy or $1.00 per noncertified copy) by check or money order only.  Requests will be processed by the Archives within 5 days of being received. 

Online:

You can order marriage certificates online with a credit card from the Washington State Digital Archives for marriages from 1855 to 1989 only. You must search for and locate your record prior to ordering a copy.  They charge $4.00 per certified copy. Unofficial images are available for download for free.

 
I have a friend who is a judge from another state and wants to perform my marriage ceremony. Is it legal for judges of another state to officiate weddings in Washington State?

RCW 26.04.050 states who may solemnize a marriage, the full text can be found here:  http://apps.leg.wa.gov/rcw/default.aspx?cite=26.04.050   While it lists a variety of judges and clergy, it does not state that they must be judges from Washington State. 

 
Are there any plans in the future to back scan older documents on microfilm?
Due to budgetary constraints, the County has no plans at this time to back-scan older documents. Requests for these documents are small compared to requests for more recent documents.
 
In trying to retrieve a recorded document I got a message saying the doc was over 100 pages and therefore unavailable online.
We limit image retrieval to 100 pages because there are typically 400+ users on the website at any time and it takes a significant time to process these large documents. When this occurs, everyone on the website as well as everyone in the Recorders office has to wait until the one request is finished. If you click the message, an email will be sent to the Recorders webmaster who will manually process the document and reply by email when it is available online.
 
I downloaded the editable excise tax affidavit and filled it out and printed it but the words are not seperated by spaces and some of the boxes are not filled in.
Download the latest version of the free Adobe Reader (external link). If you still have problems, you can select 'Print As Image' when you print it. It will take a little longer but will almost always print correctly.
 
There seems to be a problem when I access your site - when the disclaimer appears whether they select Accept or Decline they receive the Decline message.
This problem may occur if your internet traffic is being routed through a content management server which is stripping out the cookie section from your packets. Send an email to us and we will assist you making this determination.
 
Where can I purchase blank forms for recording?
Office supply and stationery stores
 
Can I search property records to find the owner of a parcel if I have only the address? If so, how?

We do not maintain an address field. Our index is by name (Grantor/Grantee) and/or by Instrument number. You can search on a date range by name, but not by address.

In order to find the current tax payer (usually the owner), please search on the King County Parcel Viewer website or contact the King County Department of Assessments.

 
Why isn't your site open 24 hours?
The website itself is usually available 24 hours; however, the two servers that contain the data and images used for Records Searches must be shut down each night at 11:55pm for backup. These servers may have long maintenance jobs scheduled for the weekends, so the search engine may only have partial functionality.
 
I noticed my Social Security Number is visible on a document! What can I do?
The King County Recorder understands that while we are responsible for providing low or no-cost documents to the public, we are also keenly aware that privacy is of the utmost importance. Consequently, we do not display images of documents that almost always contain personal identifiers (ssn, Mother's maiden name, etc.) such as Liens, Federal Tax Liens, and marriage certificates. These documents are available from our office and can be requested either by mail or in person.
By law, we are required to make these documents available upon request either by mail or in person. In addition, we are prohibited from altering any record.
Some documents, however, may have been submitted to us for recording with a personal identifier embedded in the document. After reviewing your documents online at (http://www.metrokc.gov/recelec/records/default.htm Records Search) and determining that an image contains your Social Security Number, Driver's License Number, or Mother's Maiden Name, you may request that the image be removed from website viewing by doing the following:

1. From our main internet page at (http://www.metrokc.gov/recelec/records/default.htm) select from the left task bar the category Online Forms and Document standards.

2. Click the link to the form called "Remove Image From Webpage".
3. Complete the form (please make sure you include ALL recording numbers that contain personal identifiers) and email it by clicking the "Submit by Email" button in the upper right corner or send as an attachment to Customer Service Questions or print and mail it to the Recorder's Office.

The document will be processed and returned to you when completed.

 
Do you have property tax information?
No. Please contact the King County Department of Finance at (206) 296-3850.
 
How do I transfer property?
King County cannot give legal advice. You may want to contact an attorney or title company for this information
 
Why are documents watermarked with "Unofficial Document" ?
We are obligated by law (RCW 36.18.010) to collect fees for official copies of recorded documents. In addition, we have no way of controlling the validity of documents that are not reproduced by a lawful Deputy Recorder. With computer software available on most home computers, the document could be modified and without the watermark, could be presented as being a true and correct copy of an official public record. Our intent is to make available to the public the information contained in the documents that are filed in the Recorder's Office. If an official or certified copy is required, you can request one by completing the Copy Request Form and either mail it to us with the correct fees or request copies in person at the King County Recorder's Office.