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Document Types & Definitions

The Los Angeles County Registrar-Recorder/County Clerk does not provide legal advice to the public and cannot assist the public in the preparation of legal documents. Please consult a legal advisor.

Click the titles below to learn about types of property document recording document.

The forms provided are samples prepared according to legislation, please consult your legal advisor before submitting for recording.

Document Types & Definitions

20 Day Preliminary Notice

20 Day Preliminary Notice

Sample form can be found by clicking here: 20 Day Preliminary Notice

This is a written notice from a claimant that is given prior to the recording of a Mechanic's Lien, prior to the filing of a Stop Notice, or prior to asserting a claim against a payment bond for public or private work.

Abstract of Judgment

A summary of the essential provisions of a money judgment. When recorded, it creates a general lien on real property of the judgment debtor in the county in which the abstract is recorded.

Assignment of Rents

A document that gives the beneficiary the right to collect rents of the secured property in the event of a default.

Certificate of Tax Lien

A lien for nonpayment of property taxes. Attaches only to the property upon which the taxes are unpaid.

Covenants, Conditions and Restrictions (CC&R’s)

A term used in some areas to describe the restrictive limitations that may be placed on property. In other areas, the term is simply called restrictions.


The granting of a right which one has in the land of another. It is either for the benefit of land, such as a right to cross, or “in gross,” such as a public utility easement.

Federal Tax Lien

A lien attaching to property for nonpayment of a federal tax (estate, income, etc.).

Fictitious Deed of Trust

A deed of trust recorded by a trustee that discloses all the terms of the trust deed but does not relate to a specific transaction and is used for reference only.


The final determination of a court of a matter presented to it. Money judgments, when recorded, become a lien on real property of the defendant.

Mechanic's Lien

Statutory lien in favor of laborers and material suppliers who have performed work or furnished materials or supplies to a work of improvement. If not paid, they have a right to record a lien within a prescribed period of time.

Military Discharge

Evidence to the military record of separation (discharge) of member.

Notice of Completion

Notice recorded under the California mechanic’s lien law within 10 days after completion of a structure. It shortens the time to file a mechanic’s lien.

Notice of Default

Recorded notice that a default has occurred under a deed of trust. It is the first step in non-judicial foreclosure of a deed of trust.

Notice of Rescission

A recorded notice to rescind a notice of default of a mortgage or deed of trust.

Notice of Trustee Sale

Foreclosure sale conducted by the trustee under a deed of trust after a default occurs.

Power of Attorney

Instrument used to appoint an attorney-in-fact to evidence the delegation from a principal authorizing another person, as agent of principal, to act for him/her in his/her name in a designated capacity. Signature of the Principal(s) must be notarized.

Power of Attorney


An instrument releasing property from the lien of the mortgage, judgment, etc. When a trust deed is used, the instrument is called a reconveyance. In some areas, a “discharge” is used instead of a release.

Request for Notice of Default

A recorded notice made by the beneficiary of a trust deed that he be notified in the event that foreclosure proceedings are commenced by another party of interest.

Restrictive Covenant Modification

A document which allows the striking out of blatant racial, religious, or other restrictive covenants from a previously recorded document after local County Counsel determines such language violates the fair housing laws and is void. Sample form can be found here.

Restrictive Covenant Modification (Affordable Housing Restriction)

A document which allows the redaction of restrictive covenants that restrict the number, size, or location of the residences that may be built on the property, or the number of persons or families that may reside on the property from a previously recorded document after local County Counsel determines such language violates the fair housing laws and is void. Sample form can be found here.

Revocable Transfer on Death Deed

Transfer real property to a designated beneficiary upon the death of the owner (transferor) without a probate hearing.

State Tax Lien

A lien attaching to property for nonpayment of state income tax.

Subordination Agreement

Agreement under which a prior or superior lien is made inferior or subject to an otherwise junior lien.

Trust Deed (Deed of Trust)

Written instrument by which title to land is transferred to a trustee as security for a debt or other obligation.

Trustee’s Deed

Deed given by the trustee when property is sold under the power of sale in a trust deed.

Uniform Commercial Code Financing Statement (UCC)

A mortgage or security agreement using personal property as the collateral. These agreements are recorded in county if real property is affected.

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