Office Information

  1. Where is the office located?
  2. What are the office hours?
  3. What kinds of documents are recorded in the Recorder of Deeds office?
  4. How far back do your records go?
  5. How do I record?
  6. What are the recording requirements?
  7. What if I don't have a computer?
  8. What are the recording fees?
  9. How many checks do I need when recording?
  10. Do you give refunds for overages?
  11. Can I obtain information over the telephone?
  12. Are the documents in the Recorder of Deeds office original documents?
  13. How can I obtain a copy of a document recorded in your office?
  14. My document was lost/destroyed, what do I do?
  15. Can anyone look at my deed and mortgage?
  16. What precautions are taken to protect the public records?
  17. Can I prepare my own deed?
  18. How do I change, add, or remove a name on a deed?
  19. Is it necessary to delete a deceased spouse's name on a deed?
  20. If a woman remarries, must she change her name on the deed?
  21. If a mistake is found on a deed, how can it be corrected?
  22. If I sell a portion of my land, do I get a deed for the remainder?
  23. If I build on my lot, do I get a new deed for the house?
  24. Must a deed be recorded?
  25. Are there specific requirements/standards for documents to be recorded?
  26. Do you reject documents?
  27. How to reduce document rejection
  28. Are there rules for subdivision plans?
  29. Are subdivision plans required?
  30. What is done with mortgages after recording?
  31. How is a mortgage satisfied?
  32. What if the original mortgage was lost or destroyed?
  33. What is Real Estate Transfer Tax?
  34. Who pays the Transfer Tax?
  35. Are any transactions exempt?
  36. Is a transfer between divorced parties exempt?
  37. What is a Statement of Value (SOV)?
  38. Why is additional Transfer Tax sometimes due?
  39. How is additional tax paid?
  40. What information do I need to check recorded documents?
  41. How do I check easements on my property?
  42. How do I check for deed restrictions?
  43. What is the elevation of my property?
  44. How can I determine the latitude and longitude of my ground?
  45. How can I determine my property line?
  46. Do you have plans showing the location of the building on my lot?
  47. Does the Recorder of Deeds record mobile home park lots?
  48. How can I check for liens against my property?
  49. How do I determine the location of old wells, or water and sewer lines?

1. Where is the office located?

The office is located at the Lancaster County Government Center, 150 N. Queen Street, third floor, Suite 315, Lancaster, PA.

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2. What are the office hours?

The office is open weekdays from 8:30 am to 5:00 pm. Document recording will conclude at 4:30 pm. The office will observe all county-scheduled holidays. We do not have evening or Saturday hours.

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3. What kinds of documents are recorded in the Recorder of Deeds office?

All Deeds, Mortgages, including Mortgage Assignments, Assignments of Leases/Rents, Postponements, Releases, Mortgage Modifications/Amendments and Mortgage Satisfactions; UCC "Secured Transactions;" Easements, Agreements, Rights of Ways, Memorandums of Lease; Lease Purchase Agreements; Public Utility Filings; Powers of Attorney'; Declarations of Trust; Actions to Quiet Title; Adjudications; Elections to take Against Wills; Approval of Trustees; Act 319 (Clean and Green); Subdivision and State Highway Plans; Charters of Non-Profit Corporations; Ordinances; Military Service Discharges (DD-214); Declaration of Taking (eminent domain); Oaths, Bonds, and Commissions of Notaries Public, County officers and all others who receive their commissions from the State.

NOTE: The Recorder of Deeds is NOT a general repository for the recording of documents by the public. Unless the presented document is related to a specific piece of real estate or statutorily mandated to be recorded we will not accept it for recording.

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4. How far back do your records go?

The Lancaster County Recorder of Deeds office is one of the oldest such offices in the United States. It was founded on May 10, 1729, the same year Lancaster was officially chartered as a county. At that time, Lancaster County was under the administration of Patrick Gordon, Governor of the Colony of Pennsylvania. Prior to founding, Lancaster County was a part of Chester County.

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5. How do I record?

Documents can be submitted in person, by mail, or overnight delivery. We also receive document electronically (eRecordings). Please be sure your documents meet all the recording requirements and check(s) are made payable to "RECORDER OF DEEDS" for the correct amount. No refunds will be given. We require a self-addressed, stamped envelope with sufficient postage to be included with all recording so they can be returned to you.

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6. What are the recording requirements?

All documents must be accompanied by a cover page generated from our website. You may want to print the quick reference guide to assist you with cover page creation. A correct e-mail address must accompany the document recording information on the cover page. Upon recording, the document recording information is e-mailed immediately to the address provided. Complete recording requirements are available on our website.

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7. What if I don't have a computer?

If you are not a regular submitter, you may bring your document to the office where a staff member will assist you in creating a cover page. Recording information will be returned to the submitter by mail.

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8. What are the recording fees?

Fees change as new laws are passed. For a complete fee schedule, please refer to our website.

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9. How many checks do I need when recording?

One check per transaction is acceptable. However, we will accept multiple checks as long as all the checks are for the same transaction. We can not seperate checks between transactions.

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10. Do you give refunds for overages?

No refunds will be given. If a check amount exceeds $50.00 over the recording cost and taxes, the recording will be returned for a new check.

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11. Can I obtain information over the telephone?

General recording requirements and fees may be obtained by telephone. Office employees are not permitted to conduct searches. For information regarding previously recorded documents, you may come into the office where a staff member will assist you. You can also obtain information on searching through our website. A support line is also available at 188-608-1808. Additionally, you may want to hire an attorney or title searcher.

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12. Are the documents in the Recorder of Deeds office original documents?

NO. You will find only copies of the original documents in the Recorder of Deeds office. These copies will furnish you with the information that you need to complete your search. Original documents are returned to the submitter.

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13. How can I obtain a copy of a document recorded in your office?

Copies are available for $.25 per page in our office. Copies are also available at no charge from your own computer.

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14. My document was lost/destroyed, what do I do?

Recorded documents can be replaced by obtaining a certified copy. A certified copy is a copy of the original that is certifed with the Recorder of Deeds seal and found in our records. A certified copy can be obtained from this office by mail for a flat fee of $10.00. When making the request, you must provide the Record Book and Page or Instrument Number where the document is recorded. A self-addressed stamped envelope must be provided for returns by mail. Certified copies are also available online with a credit card for a fee of $5.00. The online certified document has a tamper-proof seal and cerfication stamp from the Recorder of Deeds office along with an electronic postmark form the US Postal Service. CERTIFIED COPIES CANNOT BE FAXED.

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15. Can anyone look at my deed and mortgage?

Yes. All documents recorded in our office are public records with the exception of Military Discharge Papers (DD-214).

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16. What precautions are taken to protect the public records?

A microfilm copy is made for security reasons. The film is kept in an atomic-proof underground vault at a secure facility. All records can be duplicated in the event of a disaster in the Recorder of Deeds office that may destroy our computer system and/or records. This is for your protection and a Pennsylvania Statute requirement. In the event of a disaster we have a recovery process in place. All of our data is backed up daily.

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17. Can I prepare my own deed?

Yes, but we strongly recommend you consult with legal counsel or someone with expertise in the field. Employees of the Recorder of Deeds office cannot and will not prepare deeds for you.

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18. How do I change, add, or remove a name on a deed?

This is usually done by recording a new deed showing the change. Once a document or deed is recorded, it cannot be altered or changed in any way. A new deed must be prepared and recorded. Employees of the Recorder of Deeds office cannot and will not prepare deeds for you.

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19. Is it necessary to delete a deceased spouse's name on a deed?

Generally, NO, if property was held jointly by husband and wife, as tenants by the entireties. If and when the widow/widower sells or mortgages the property, he or she must explain in the new deed or mortgage that the other spouse is now deceased and provide the date of demise. A special instance due to a particular legal situation could occur where the name should be deleted, therefore, we recommend consulting an attorney.

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20. If a woman remarries, must she change her name on the deed?

It is not legally required, but again because each situation can be different, we recommend you seek competent legal advice. Employees of the Recorder of Deeds office cannot and will not prepare deeds for you.

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21. If a mistake is found on a deed, how can it be corrected?

It may not be necessary to correct every "mistake" that may be found in a deed. You should seek competent legal advice to determine if the deed you are concerned about must be corrected.

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22. If I sell a portion of my land, do I get a deed for the remainder?

It is not necessary to have a deed prepared showing the remaining land. Records in the Recorder of Deeds office show your original deed and the deeds(s) for the portions sold. Anyone searching the records would take exception to the land you sold from the original deed. Again, because each situation can differ, we recommend you seek competent legal advice.

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23. If I build on my lot, do I get a new deed for the house?

Deeds convey land and not improvements. The original deeds would cover any buildings erected on the lot at a later date.

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24. Must a deed be recorded?

Generally the answer to this question is yes and there are laws in the commwealth of Pennsylvania which govern the recording of deeds of coveyance and in some cases establish time frames. Each situation can be different and we recommend you seek competent legal advice.

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25. Are there specific requirements/standards for documents to be recorded?

Yes.. All documents should be on white paper 8 1/2" by 11" and type should be at least ten (10) point font.

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26. Do you reject documents?

Documents are rejected if they do not comply with our recording requirements. Our recording requirements are available on our website. If a document is unacceptable for recording for any reason, it will be returned to the sender with a letter of explanation. A re-submission fee of $5.00 will be charged for the first and any subsequent times it must be returned.

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27. How to reduce document rejection

1. Deeds, mortgages and assignment are required to have a certified grantee/mortgagee addresses including ZIP Code. P.O. Boxes are not accepted, however, on a deed you may note that taxes are to be mailed to a P.O. Box.

2. Acknowledgement is defective:

  • Notary (the stamp) is missing or not dark enough.
  • Date of acknowledgment predates date of document or the acknowledgment is not dated at all
  • Municipal, State, and/or County information is missing.
  • Format is incorrect an "individual" acknowledgment must be used for individuals; a "corporate acknowledgment" must be used for someone who signs on behalf of a corporation.
  • Notary's signature is missing.
  • Names on the acknowledgment do not conform to the names stated in the document or the names of the document signatures.
  • Notary stamp does not conform to the Commonwealth's notary requirements.

3. Document date or date of execution is missing.

4. The tax parcel ID number with district code must appear on all deeds.

5. Signatory for limited partnership (LP) must be "Partner" not "President."

6. Signatory for a corporation (Co. or Inc.) must be a "President" or "Vice President" or officer not a partner.

7. Statements of value affidavits are missing, incomplete, or inaccurate.

8. Book and page or Instrument number of related document is missing on an assignment, satisfaction, modification, or subordination.

9. Numerical amounts differ from written amount on deed or mortgage.

10. Incorrect tax/recording fee check.

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28. Are there rules for subdivision plans?

Subdivision plans must be original on mylar or paper, and must be one of two sizes to be accepted for recording: 18" x 22" or 24" x 36".

A one and one-quarter (1/4) inch margin of all plan sheets should be kept clear of plan information (graphic borders may encroach into this area). Recording information is applied to the first inch of the top margin of each recorded sheet.

A clear area should be provided in the lower-right quadrant, preferably near the bottom margin, of each plan sheet to be recorded. This area can be utilized for the recording information and bar code label (one inch by three inches horizonally) that is applied to each recorded sheet. Please provide sufficient room to title this area "Lancaster County Recorder of Deeds Recording Information" and to provide room for the LCPC plan number.

Plans executed by a Township or Borough must be signed by the Secretary of the Township, or Manager of the Borough or other individual at the municpal body officially designated to sign them and official municipal seal must be affixed thereto. The plans must be signed by the Lancaster County Planning Commission and by any interested party, for example, the owner of record, equitable owner, developer, contractor, etc. and acknowledged by a notary public. Notary stamp must be clear.

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29. Are subdivision plans required?

A Subdivision is a means to which a larger tract of land can be divided into smaller tracts of land and separately conveyed. There are State, County, and Municipal ordinaces governing when a subdivision is required and what must be accomplished in order to subdivide a larger tract of land into a smaller tract.

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30. What is done with mortgages after recording?

Mortgages are returned to the MORTGAGEE (lender). The mortgagor is the party receiving the loan and the original mortgage will be returned to the mortgagor when final payment is made to the lender, and after a satisfaction piece has been recorded.

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31. How is a mortgage satisfied?

This action is most often initiated by the mortgagee (lender). The mortgagee may after receiving their final payment send the satisfaction piece to the mortgagor (borrower). If the satisfaction piece is sent to the mortgagor, then bring the satisfaction piece to our office for recording with the correct fee.

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32. What if the original mortgage was lost or destroyed?

The original mortgage is not required to accompany the satisfaction piece for recording.

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33. What is Real Estate Transfer Tax?

In Lancaster County there is a state component of the tax and municipal component of the tax, each being one percent of the value of the property or interest being conveyed. The value upon which the tax is paid may or may not be the actual sale price for the property.

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34. Who pays the Transfer Tax?

Who actually pays what amount or portion of the real estate transfer tax is a matter which is dealt with by the parties to a real state transaction and governed by State law. The Recorder of Deeds only concern is that at the time a deed is presented for recording, either the tranfer tax is paid based upon the stated consdieraton or if no tax is being paid, a Statement of Value must be presented to justify why no tax is paid or there may be a legally justifiable reason set forth in the deed.

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35. Are any transactions exempt?

Yes, under Pennsylvania Realty Transfer Tax Law and Regulations some transaction are exempt. Conveyances between husband/wife, parent/child, grandparents/grandchild and brother/sisters are exempt. There are also other exemptions that are permitted in certain situations. It is best to consult an attorney to find out what these exemptions are. Non-profit corporations are not tax exempt and therefore in most cases the transaction is taxable.

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36. Is a transfer between divorced parties exempt?

A deed that was recorded with husband and wife holding title can be transferred to either ex-spouse and is exempt from transfer tax. Please consult Realty Transfer Tax Regulations and/or we can recommend you seek competent legal advice.

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37. What is a Statement of Value (SOV)?

A Statement of Value is a form developed by the Pennsylvania Department of Revenue to be completed and attached to deeds and easements in certain transactions. This form is used either to set the value of the property being conveyed or to give the reason for exemption. State investigators review each deed to see if the value is as stated or if the reason given for exemption is valid.

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38. Why is additional Transfer Tax sometimes due?

Payment of Realty Transfer Tax is always subject to review by the Deparment of Revenue, which may determine that additional tax is due.

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39. How is additional tax paid?

A redetermination is sent directly to the buyer, seller, and correspondent listed on the Statement of Value by the Pennsylvania Department of Revenue. The additional State tax, Local tax, and interest are paid to the Commonwealth. The Commonwealth will send the local tax to the Recorder of Deeds office for distribution along with a Pennsylvania Realty Transfer Tax State Tax Payment Imprint Receipt for recording. After recording, the imprint will be sent to the party that paid the additional tax.

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40. What information do I need to check recorded documents?

On August 3, 2009, the Recorder of Deeds office implemented a new recording vendor, PropertyInfo, then RecordFusion, and their recording software, CountyFusion. We became the first county in the country to implement front-end recording, where documents are first scanned, and then recorded from the resulting images. Under this system is the SearchDocs website, which allows documents to be searched online. With this system you can search by owner's name, instrument number, or book and page.

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41. How do I check easements on my property?

You can come into the Recorder of Deeds office to check the recorded documents. Our staff will be glad to assist you in locating the information. Also, recorded easements/rights of way are available on our search website. If you do not have the document reference this can become a complicated matter that may involve a full title search which have to be conducted by knowledgeable, trained, and skilled individuals. When you purchased your home if you obtained title insurance, easements and right of ways should be set forth in your title policy.

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42. How do I check for deed restrictions?

You can come into the Recorder of Deeds office to check the recorded documents. Our staff will be glad to assist you in locating the information. Also, recorded restrictions are available on our search website. If you do not have the document reference this can be difficult since deed restrictions do not have to be placed in each new deed. A restriction could be set forth in a deed ten owners back in the chain of title and still be in effect. Again, this may involve a full title search which has to be conducted by knowledgeable, trained, and skilled individuals. When you purchased your home if you obtained title insurance, restrictions should be set forth in your title policy.

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43. What is the elevation of my property?

This information is not included in a deed. Please contact our Geographic Information System (GIS) office located in the Lancaster County Government Center, 150 N. Queen Street, located on the third floor.

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44. How can I determine the latitude and longitude of my ground?

This information is not included in a deed. Please contact our Geographic Information Systems (GIS) located at the Lancaster County Government Center, 150 N. Queen Street, located on the third floor.

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45. How can I determine my property line?

Your deed will, in most cases, give you the legal description. Sometimes the surveyor pins, stakes, or markers can be found. If they can't be located, then a surveyor is needed to locate your property line.

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46. Do you have plans showing the location of the building on my lot?

Some subdivisions show existing buildings on the land at the time the subdivision plan was prepared. The office does not have special plans showing the location, however, there may be plans kept in your municipal building for zoning purposes which show buildings.

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47. Does the Recorder of Deeds record mobile home park lots?

No. A groud lease for a mobile home would not give you ownership of the mobile home. Mobile homes have titles through the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation. A mobile home situated on a private lot would be handled as any other deed.

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48. How can I check for liens against my property?

Mortgages and UCC (Secured Transactions) are recorded in our office. Other liens, such as Federal/State/Tax Liens; Judgements; Water/Sewer; Municipal Liens are filed in the Prothonotary's Office, 50 N. Duke Street. Click here to go to their website. Deliquent real estate taxes are filed in the Treasurer's Office, located at 150 N. Queen Street. This can be a cumbersome process. We recommend you seek competent legal advice or a title company if you desire to determine what liens may be against your property.

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49. How do I determine the location of old wells, or water and sewer lines?

This information is not recorded in our office.

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Historical Information

  1. How do I determine if relatives owned properties here years ago?
  2. How can I determine the owner of a property?
  3. How can I trace owership of my property?
  4. How can I tell the age of my house?

1. How do I determine if relatives owned properties here years ago?

You would do this by checking the indexes to see if their names appear in either the deed or mortgage indices.

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2. How can I determine the owner of a property?

We suggest you begin by contacting the Property Assessment office, which is a division of the County of Lancaster. Information can be found by clicking here and going to their website. Thereafter our records may be searched using the owner's name.

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3. How can I trace owership of my property?

Following the legal description in your deed, there is a recital or "being" clause. These clauses give the name of the person/persons who sold the property, the person they sold it to, as well as the deed book and page numbers where this transaction can be found. Once you have found your deed, find the same information of the preceding transaction involving your property. Repeat this process, hopefully back to 1729. However, please be advised that not all deeds contain a recital.

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4. How can I tell the age of my house?

As such, this information is not maintained in our office. Typically, trying to determine this information has to be done by piecing together information from a wide variety of sources. It is diffucult to determine this by checking deeds, since a deed may not mention buildings. A deed may simply state "and the building thereon," however, it is not required to state anything. It is possible that the municipality may have the information on file, depending on the age of the house. You can also check the Lancaster County Historical Society or Property Assessment, they may have information that may be useful in your search.

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Miscellaneous Information

  1. Can I record my military discharge?
  2. How do I become a Notary Public?
  3. Electronic Recording (eRecording)- What is it?

1. Can I record my military discharge?

Yes, and it is a good idea to record it. Lancaster County does not charge veterans for the recording of these documents. You will need your discharge for various veteran benefits. In the event of a loss, the Recorder of Deeds office can provide you with a certified copy. No one but the veteran, his/her family, or a veteran organization official is permitted to view these records. They are not available to the public.

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2. How do I become a Notary Public?

Contact the Bureau of Commissions at (717) 787-5280. Notary public applications are also available to download on our website.

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3. Electronic Recording (eRecording)- What is it?

ERecording is an efficient and cost effective way to record documents. It allows you to record documents, same or next day without ever leaving your office. Your document is received electronically in the County and the recording infomration is returned to you electronically. At the present time we offer several eRecording options. Please contact the office for information.

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County of Lancaster, Office of Recorder of Deeds
© 2017, all rights reserved

150 N. Queen St., P. O. Box 1478
Lancaster, PA 17608-1478
Phone: 717-299-8238 | Fax: 717-299-8393

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