The Oklahoma Legislature passed legislation as of July 1, 1997 which sets new requirements for documents accepted for filing in all County Clerk offices in Oklahoma. The purpose of the law is to provide sufficient space on the face of each document for the necessary recording information, documentary stamps and mortgage tax stamps which may be required, without covering other information. This amended the Oklahoma State Statutes pertaining to recordable instruments. For complete information, consult 16 O.S. Section 28, 19 O.S. Section 291 through 298 and 28 O.S. Section 32 in the 1997 Supplement.
According to the 1997 Supplement to the Oklahoma State Statutes, all instruments submitted for recording must conform to the following requirements:
- Must be an original or a certified copy of an original instrument;
- Must be clearly legible without magnification or enhancement;
- Must be in the English language;
- Must describe the property by its specific legal description;
- Must provide such information as is necessary for indexing as required by Section 287 and 291of 19 O.S.1991 (Addition, block & lot, section, township & range, and metes & bounds if necessary for location);
- If the instrument contains more than twenty-five (25) legal descriptions, they must be sorted by addition, block& lot (if platted), or by township range and section (if un-platted.);
- An additional $1.00 will be charged for each legal description in excess of 25 per page;
- Must meet all other previous requirements for recording. (Grantor, Grantee, specific legal descriptions, return address, signatures and acknowledgments, etc.);
- Unless the person offering a nonconforming instrument for filing is willing to reform the instrument, for which purposes it may be withdrawn and refiled during the same business day, the County Clerk may refuse to record and index;
- Documents must be "Xerographically reproducible by the copying equipment in use by the County Clerk";
- Unless otherwise provided by law, documents must be no larger than 8 ½ by 14 inches. (Certain instruments are excluded, such as Plats and UCC filings.);
- Margins must be 1 inch at the top and ½ inch at all other margins. A three inch top margin would be ideal, allowing placement of the return address on the left side and the recording stamp on the right side while still complying with the 1" margin requirement;
- All documents shall provide an area free of printed information sufficient in size to accommodate affixation of documentary stamps, certification of the payment of mortgage tax, and recording information affixed by the county clerk without extending into the margins. (These space requirements may vary.);
- If sufficient blank space is not provided, an additional page shall be attached to provide the space. This increases the number of pages resulting in an increase in filing fees;
- If the document fails to meet all the requirements above, but is an original or certified copy, is legible, in English, is xerographically reproducible by the clerk’s equipment, and meets all other statutory requirements for recording, the County Clerk may record it by charging the additional fees set in place for nonconforming instruments.
As of January 1, 1998, if the instrument does not meet the new requirements, the nonconforming fees for recording will be $25.00 for the first page and $10.00 for each page thereafter. If the document meets all requirements with the exception of the space available for recording information, you may add an extra page to conform the instrument. In such cases, the charge for all pages is the regular fee. If the document is nonconforming for other reasons in addition to the space requirement, an extra page may be added to provide space and all pages will be filed at the nonconforming fee.
As before, "All documents accepted for filing, including all documents filed before the effective date of this act, shall be deemed to comply with the requirements of this section and, except as otherwise provided by law, impart constructive notice of the contents of such document to third parties unless a person claiming adversely to any such document files an affidavit setting forth the basis of such claim in the office of the county clerk of the county where the property is located within six (6) months from the effective date of this act."