Most Common Recorded Document Definitions

Legal Note

Pursuant to California Government Code 24004 and B and P Code 6126:
The staff of the Recorder's Office is forbidden by California Legal Codes to practice law or provide legal advice. This prohibition includes giving advice about what forms you might need or how you should fill them out.

The following is a partial list of commonly submitted documents that may be recorded and a description or definitions of each. The descriptions are general and are not intended to be complete legal definitions. If you wish to use any particular document, we suggest that you consult a real estate professional or an attorney.

Abandonment of Homestead

Recorded to terminate a homestead interest in  property. Code of Civil Procedure 704.980(a)

Abstract of Judgment

To secure payment of money judgment creditors and establish the priority of their judgment against the judgment debtor. Code of Civil Procedure 697.060

Affidavit of Death

To verify the death of and identify the decedent as a former interest holder in specifically described or referred to real property. Probate Code 210-211

Assignment of Rents

An instrument that assigns rents or profits from one party to another. Generally gives the beneficiary the rights to collect rents of the secured property in the event of default. Civil Code 2938

Covenants, Conditions and Restrictions

A declaration that describes the restrictive limitations which have been placed on property. Civil Code 1468.

Declaration of Homestead

A declaration that provides a limited statutory protection of real property, used as a home, from the claims of certain creditors. Code of Civil Procedure 704.930.

Deed-Grant and / or Quitclaim

A written instrument by which a person transfers owner of real property to another. Civil Code 1092.

Deed of Reconveyance

An instrument used to transfer title from a trustee to the equitable owner of real estate when title is held as collateral security for a debt. Commonly used upon “payment in full” of a Deed of Trust. Civil Code 2941.

Deed of Trust

An instrument securing a debt in which a debtor conveys the legal ownership of real property to a trustee to be held in trust for the benefit of the creditor or to be sold upon the debtor’s default to pay the debt. Civil Code 2952


A grant that entitles the holder to a specific limited use or enjoyment of property, such as the right to cross the land. Civil Code 880.330.

Judgment or Order

A formal decision or determination by the court on a specific matter, affecting title or possession of real property. Government Codes 27280 and 27326.


A contract by which the owner of property conveys exclusive possession, control, use, or enjoyment of property for a specified rent and a specified term. Government Code 27280 and Civil Code 1219.


A lien is a charge imposed upon specific property by which it is made security for the performance of an act. Code of Civil Procedure 1180.

Lis Pendens

A legal notice indicating that litigation is pending. Gives notice that anyone acquiring an interest in the property described subsequent to the date of the notice may be bound by the outcome of the litigation. Code of Civil Procedure 405.20 and 405.21.

Mechanics Lien

A lien secures priority of payment for the price or value of work performed and materials furnished in construction or repair of improvements to land. Civil Code 3084.

Notice of Completion

A notice indicating that a construction job is finished. It reduces the time frame in which a mechanics lien may be filed. Civil Code 3093.

Notice of Default

A notice filed to show that the borrower under a mortgage or deed of trust is in default. Civil Code 2924.

Notice of Rescission

A notice that rescinds a notice of default of a mortgage or deed of trust. Civil Code 1058.5.

Notice of Trustee’s Sale

An Instrument specifying the details of a future foreclosure sale which will be conducted by the trustees under a deed of trust. Civil Code 2924F.

Power of Attorney

An instruction containing an authorization for one to act as agent of another. Terminates upon revocation by the principal or upon death of the principal or agent. Civil Code 2933.


An instrument releasing property from a lien or an obligation. See specific document type for a code.

Request for Notice of Default

A request that a person desires written notice of the recording of a Notice of Default under a Deed of Trust or of the scheduling of a trustee’s sale. Civil Code 2924b.

Subordination Agreement

To Evidence an agreement to permit a security interest in real property to be of a lower priority. Civil Code 2934.

Substitution of Trustee

A document used to change the trustee under a deed of trust. Civil Code 2934a.

Tax Lien-County, State and Federal

A lien by a governmental agency for non-payment of taxes. Attaches to all real property presently owned or after acquired by the taxpayer. Government Code 7171 and 27330. Revenue and Taxation Code 3372.

Trustee’s Deed

A deed by a trustee under a deed of trust, issued to a purchaser at auction, pursuant to a foreclosure. Government Code 27263.

Uniform Commercial Code Financing Statements (UCC)

A statement that contains information about a security interest in collateral used to secure a debt. (Uniform) Commercial Code 1201.