Reconveying Real Estate under a Deed of Trust in Washington State.
Posted Jan 17, 2013
By Washington State Business & Real Estate Law Lawyer Per E. Oscarsson
When an obligation to pay money or perform some other obligation is secured by a deed of trust and that obligation has been satisfied, the owner of the real estate affected by the deed of trust is entitled to have the lien of the deed of trust removed from the records. Sometimes the lien is not removed and title to the real estate continues to be affected by the deed of trust.
Removal of the deed of trust is usually done by a “reconveyance” of the property affected by the deed of trust. In the typical case, when the money has been paid in full or the obligation has been fully performed, the beneficiary of the deed of trust makes a written request to the trustee to “reconvey” the property. The trustee records a reconveyance document in the same county real estate records where the deed of trust was recorded. Upon recording of the reconveyance, title to the real estate is no longer affected by that deed of trust.
Sometimes, even though the money has been paid in full or the obligation has been fully performed, the reconveyance does not occur. This can happen for a number of reasons. But, regardless of the reason, the result is the same: the deed of trust still appears in the recording records and clouds title to the real estate. This can cause a variety of problems. For example, if the property owner (who may not be the grantor of the deed of trust) seeks to refinance the property or to sell the property, that transaction often cannot be completed until the property has been reconveyed by the trustee. Either the beneficiary of the deed of trust must be located and asked to sign a request for reconveyance or the property owner must prove to the trustee that the obligation was satisfied and the property should be reconveyed. In either case, there can be delay and unexpected expense incurred trying to accomplish these things. It is possible that the grantor of the deed of trust and the beneficiary of the deed of trust cannot be located or have died. In that case, a lawsuit to quiet title to the property and remove the lien of the deed of trust may be necessary. This can also add to the delay and expense of resolving the problem.
If you need assistance with a deed of trust, contact Per E. Oscarsson or one of the other attorneys in Beresford Booth’s Business and Real Estate Group.
Beresford Booth PLLC (425.776.4100), www.beresfordlaw.com
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