Elimination of Torrens/Registered Land


In March 2022, the Washington Legislature eliminated the Torrens system 1376.SL.pdf (wa.gov). 


WHAT DOES THIS MEAN?

The Torrens registry system has been discontinued. Effective July 1, 2023, all properties will no longer be subject to registration. This doesn’t affect the validity and priority of lien interest or ownership.

BACKGROUND

Prior to March 2022, Washington State provided an alternative process to document interest(s) in real property. This alternative process was described in the Registered Land Title Act, commonly known as the Torrens Act or Torrens system. Under the Torrens system, interests in a parcel of land were documented in a “Certificate of Title” and retained by the County Auditor in a specific Torrens index.  

HOW WOULD I KNOW IF MY PROPERTY IS AFFECTED?

The title company would have notified you of the registration when you purchased your property. If the sale did not include a title company, the seller would have surrendered the certificate of title and the county would issue a certificate of title to you.  In Pierce County, there are just over 200 parcels subject to the Torrens system.

Certificate of Title

WHAT DO I NEED TO DO?

Owners with property registered in the Torrens system have until July 1, 2023, to withdraw their property from the system. You may withdraw your property by surrendering a Certified or Duplicate Copy of the Certificate of Title to the Auditor’s Office. If the Certified or Duplicate Copy of the Certificate of Title has been lost, mislaid, or destroyed then you may submit an affidavit (attached) explaining, to the best of your knowledge, the circumstances of the loss. The affidavit must also include a description of the real property, the name and address of each registered owner, and each such owner’s interest in the real property.

HOW MUCH WILL IT COST?

Nothing! These recordings are processed for free.

WHAT IF I DO NOTHING?

After July 1, 2023, any property remaining in the Torrens system will be automatically withdrawn and a certificate of withdrawal recorded.