An article in the September 23rd edition of NACo County News reports that in July of this year, a record 1,000 counties were using electronic recording (or “e-cording”) for deeds and similar land record documents. From the article:
It took from the late 1990s until August 2006 to reach the 200 e-recording counties, according to [the Property Recording Industry Association’s (PRIA’s)] tracking system. Between June 2012 and August 2013, the number of counties increased by more than 25 percent, said Larry Burtness, Washoe County, Nev. recorder and PRIA Technology Committee co-chair. By the end of this year, the number is expected to reach about 1,200. PRIA is a standard-setting body that promotes and monitors the adoption of electronic recording of documents throughout the United States.
An impediment to faster adoption of e-recording has been “fear,” according to David Ewan, president of PRIA. “Like anything new, it’s unfamiliar to certain people and they’re afraid of it,” he said. But with governments strapped for cash and short on money to hire new people, counties are automating some of their processes to help the staff they still have, Ewan said. In addition, new counties are coming online as their states pass laws enabling their jurisdictions to e-record.
Once documents are recorded electronically, their public availability online can vary from state to state, county to county, he added. In Florida, for example, by law, all public documents can be accessed on the Internet. Other states or jurisdictions can have their own policies on what can be retrieved on paper or online.
The article also discusses some of the staff and budget savings counties have realized by using e-cording.