Law:Title 6. Records (Texas)

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Subtitle B. County Records

Contents

Chapter 191. General Records Provisions Affecting Counties

Section  191.001.  County Recorder; Seal; General Duties.

(a) As provided by Article V, Section 20, of the Texas Constitution, the county clerk of a county serves as the county recorder.

(b)  The county clerk shall use the county court seal to authenticate all of the clerk's official acts as county recorder.

(c)  The county clerk shall record, exactly, without delay, and in the manner provided by this subtitle, the contents of each instrument that is filed for recording and that the clerk is authorized to record.

(d)  The county clerk shall keep the records properly indexed and arranged as provided by this subtitle.

Acts 1987, 70th Leg., ch. 149, Sec. 1, eff. Sept. 1, 1987. Amended by Acts 1989, 71st Leg., ch. 1248, Sec. 49, eff. Sept. 1, 1989.



Section  191.002.  Records To Be Kept In Well-bound Books Or On Microfilm Or Other Media.

When the county clerk records an instrument, the clerk shall do so in a suitable well-bound book. However, this requirement does not apply to an instrument recorded and maintained on microfilm or other medium as provided by Chapters 204 and 205 and rules adopted under those chapters.

Acts 1987, 70th Leg., ch. 149, Sec. 1, eff. Sept. 1, 1987. Amended by Acts 1989, 71st Leg., ch. 1248, Sec. 50, eff. Sept. 1, 1989.



Section  191.003.  Effective Date Of Recording.

An instrument filed with a county clerk for recording is considered recorded from the time that the instrument is filed.

Acts 1987, 70th Leg., ch. 149, Sec. 1, eff. Sept. 1, 1987.



Section  191.004.  Attested Copies.

(a) On demand, the county clerk shall give an attested copy of any instrument that is recorded in the clerk's office.

(b)  The fee provided by law for an attested copy shall be paid to the clerk.

(c)  Subsection (a) does not apply to birth and death records maintained under the vital statistics laws of this state as provided by Title 3, Health and Safety Code. The county clerk shall allow access to and give attested copies of those records only as provided by the vital statistics laws, rules adopted under those laws, and Chapter 552, Government Code.

Acts 1987, 70th Leg., ch. 149, Sec. 1, eff. Sept. 1, 1987. Amended by Acts 1989, 71st Leg., ch. 1, Sec. 43(a), eff. Aug. 28, 1989; Acts 1989, 71st Leg., ch. 920, Sec. 2, eff. Sept. 1, 1989; Acts 2003, 78th Leg., ch. 1192, Sec. 2, eff. Sept. 1, 2003.



Section  191.005.  Effect Of Copy.

If made and recorded as provided by law, a transcribed record, a translation of a Spanish archive, a rerecorded deed, any other instrument required by law to be recorded, or a certified copy of such a record has the same effect as the original record.

Acts 1987, 70th Leg., ch. 149, Sec. 1, eff. Sept. 1, 1987.



Section  191.006.  Public Access To Records.

All records belonging to the office of the county clerk to which access is not otherwise restricted by law or by court order shall be open to the public at all reasonable times. A member of the public may make a copy of any of the records.

Acts 1987, 70th Leg., ch. 149, Sec. 1, eff. Sept. 1, 1987. Amended by Acts 1989, 71st Leg., ch. 1248, Sec. 51, eff. Sept. 1, 1989.



Section  191.007.  Specifications For Legal Papers; Increased Fees.

(a) A legal paper presented to a county clerk for filing or for recording in any county must meet the requirements prescribed by Subsections (b) through (g).  Except as provided by this section, a county clerk may not impose additional requirements or fees for filing or recording a legal paper.

(b)  A page is considered to be one side of a sheet of paper. A page must:

(1)  be no wider than 8-1/2 inches and no longer than 14 inches;

(2)  have a sufficient weight and substance so that printing, typing, or handwriting on it will not smear or bleed through; and

(3)  be printed in type not smaller than eight-point type and be suitable otherwise for reproducing from it a readable record by a photocopy or photostatic or microphotographic process used in the office of the county clerk.

(c)  Except as provided by Section 11.008(c), Property Code, a clearly identifying heading, similar to the headings on most commercially supplied printed forms, must be placed at the top of the first page to identify the type or kind of legal paper.

(d)  Printing, typing, and handwriting must be clearly legible.

(e)  Names must be legibly typed or printed immediately under each signature.

(f)  All photostats, photocopies, and other types of reproduction must have black printing, typing, or handwriting on a white background, commonly known as positive prints.

(g)  Riders and attachments must comply with the size requirement prescribed by Subsection (b) and shall not be larger than the size of the page. Only one rider or attachment may be included in or attached to a page.

(h)  The filing fee or recording fee for each page of a legal paper that is presented for filing or recording to a county clerk and fails to meet one or more of the requirements prescribed by Subsections (b) through (g) is equal to twice the regular filing fee or recording fee provided by statute for that page.  However, the failure of a page to meet the following requirements does not result in a fee increase under this subsection:

(1)  the requirement prescribed by Subsection (b)(3) relating to type size; and

(2)  provided that the legal paper complies with Section 11.008(c), Property Code, the requirement prescribed by Subsection (c) that a legal paper have a clearly identifying heading.

(i)  If a page of a legal paper has more riders or attachments than one, the filing fee or recording fee for each rider or attachment in excess of one is twice the regular filing fee or recording fee provided by statute.

(j)  If a page of a legal paper has one or more riders or attachments larger than the permitted size, the filing fee or recording fee for each oversized rider or attachment is twice the regular filing fee or recording fee provided by statute for the rider or attachment.

(k)  This section does not authorize a county clerk to refuse to record a legal paper for the reason that it fails to meet one or more of the requirements prescribed by Subsections (b) through (g). Failure to comply with these requirements shall not in any manner alter, amend, impair, or invalidate any document or legal instrument of any type or character and upon recordation by the county clerk the document or legal instrument shall be deemed and considered as fully complying with the provisions of law dealing with the recordation of documents or legal instruments of every type and character.

Added by Acts 1989, 71st Leg., ch. 1, Sec. 20(c), eff. Aug. 28, 1989. Amended by Acts 1993, 73rd Leg., ch. 555, Sec. 1, eff. Aug. 30, 1993.

Amended by:

Acts 2005, 79th Leg., Ch. 45, Sec. 2, eff. May 13, 2005.

Acts 2005, 79th Leg., Ch. 1036, Sec. 1, eff. June 18, 2005.

Acts 2009, 81st Leg., R.S., Ch. 87, Sec. 15.006, eff. September 1, 2009.



Section  191.008.  Authority To Establish Computerized Electronic Information System.

(a) The commissioners court of a county by order may provide for the establishment and operation of a computerized electronic information system through which it may provide on a contractual basis direct access to information that relates to all or some county and precinct records and records of the district courts and courts of appeals having jurisdiction in the county, that is public information, and that is stored or processed in the system. The commissioners court may make records available through the system only if the custodian of the records agrees in writing to allow public access under this section to the records.

(b)  The commissioners court may:

(1)  provide procedures for the establishment, maintenance, and operation of the information system;

(2)  establish eligibility criteria for users;

(3)  delineate the public information to be available through the system;

(4)  set a reasonable fee, charged under a contract, for use of the system; and

(5)  consolidate billing and collection of fees and payments under one county department or office.

(c)  The commissioners court may contract with a person or other governmental agency for the development, acquisition, maintenance, or operation of:

(1)  the information system or any component of the information system, including telecommunication services necessary for access to the system; and

(2)  billing and collection services for the system.

Added by Acts 1991, 72nd Leg., ch. 86, Sec. 1, eff. May 15, 1991.



Section 191.009.  Electronic Filing And Recording.

(a) A county clerk may accept electronic documents and other instruments by electronic filing and record the electronic documents and other instruments electronically if the filing or recording complies with the rules adopted by the Texas State Library and Archives Commission under Chapter 195.

(b)  An electronic document or other instrument that is filed electronically in compliance with the rules adopted under Chapter 195 is considered to have been filed in compliance with any law relating to the filing of instruments with a county clerk.

(c)  For purposes of this section:

(1)  an instrument is an electronic record, as defined by Section 322.002, Business & Commerce Code; and

(2)  "electronic document" has the meaning assigned by Section 15.002, Property Code.

Added by Acts 1999, 76th Leg., ch. 58, Sec. 1, eff. May 10, 1999. Amended by Acts 2001, 77th Leg., ch. 702, Sec. 2, eff. January 1, 2002.

Amended by:

Acts 2005, 79th Leg., Ch. 699, Sec. 2, eff. September 1, 2005.

Acts 2007, 80th Leg., R.S., Ch. 885, Sec. 2.23, eff. April 1, 2009.

Chapter 192. Instruments To Be Recorded By Counties

Section  192.001.  General Items.

The county clerk shall record each deed, mortgage, or other instrument that is required or permitted by law to be recorded.

Acts 1987, 70th Leg., ch. 149, Sec. 1, eff. Sept. 1, 1987.



Section  192.0015.  Subdivision Plat.

In recording a plat or replat of a subdivision of real property, the county clerk and a deputy of the clerk are subject to the requirements and prohibitions established by Section 12.002, Property Code.

Added by Acts 1989, 71st Leg., ch. 624, Sec. 3.07, eff. Sept. 1, 1989.



Section  192.002.  Military Discharge Records.

(a) The county clerk shall record the official discharge of persons who after 1915 have served as members of the United States armed forces, the United States armed forces reserve, or an armed forces auxiliary.

(b)  The county clerk may not charge a fee for the recording and keeping of a military discharge record.

(c)(1) This subsection applies only in relation to a military discharge record that is recorded with a county clerk under this section before September 1, 2003.

(2)  The veteran who is the subject of the record or the legal guardian of the veteran may direct, in writing, that the county clerk destroy all copies of the record that the county clerk makes readily available to the public for purposes of Section 191.006, such as paper copies of the record in the county courthouse or a courthouse annex, microfilm or microfiche copies of the record in the county courthouse or a courthouse annex, and electronic copies of the record that are available to the public. The county clerk shall comply with the direction within 15 business days after the date the direction is received. The county clerk's compliance does not violate any law of this state relating to the preservation, destruction, or alienation of public records. The direction to destroy the copies of the record, the county clerk's compliance, and any delay between the time the direction is made and the time the county clerk destroys the copies may not be used to limit or restrict the public's access to the real property records of the county.

(3)  A county clerk who receives a request under Chapter 552, Government Code, for inspection or duplication of a military discharge record recorded before September 1, 2003, is only required to search for the record in places where or media in which the county clerk makes records readily available to the public for purposes of Section 191.006, such as paper records stored in the county courthouse or a courthouse annex, microfilmed or microfiched records stored in the county courthouse or a courthouse annex, and electronically stored records made available to the public. This subdivision does not apply to a request made by the veteran who is the subject of the military discharge record or the legal guardian of the veteran.

Acts 1987, 70th Leg., ch. 149, Sec. 1, eff. Sept. 1, 1987. Amended by Acts 2003, 78th Leg., ch. 438, Sec. 2, eff. Sept. 1, 2003.



Section  192.003.  Records Of New Or Enlarged County.

(a) If a new county is created in whole or in part from the territory of another county or if territory is added to an existing county from another county, the commissioners court of the new county or the enlarged county shall require the county clerk to rerecord each deed, mortgage, conveyance, encumbrance, or muniment of title that affects or relates to real property in the territory taken from the other county and that is recorded in the other county. If the territory is acquired from more than one county, the clerk shall maintain separate sets of records for the records obtained from each county. The records shall be indexed and arranged as provided by law.

(b)  After the records are legibly rerecorded, the county clerk or the clerk's deputies who rerecorded them shall compare them with the original record. The county clerk or the clerk's deputies who rerecorded the records shall certify to the correctness of the records under their official oath and shall impress the commissioners court's seal on the records.

Acts 1987, 70th Leg., ch. 149, Sec. 1, eff. Sept. 1, 1987.



Section  192.005.  Certain Probate Records.

The commissioners court of a county may require the county clerk to record any previously unrecorded probate records if the commissioners court determines that the recording is necessary.

Acts 1987, 70th Leg., ch. 149, Sec. 1, eff. Sept. 1, 1987.



Section  192.006.  County Court Records.

(a) The county clerk is the custodian of the records of the county court in civil and criminal cases and in matters of probate. The county clerk shall record each act and proceeding of the county court, record under direction of the judge each judgment of the court, and record the issuance of and return on each execution issued by the court.

(b)  The county clerk shall keep the records of the county court properly indexed and arranged.

Acts 1987, 70th Leg., ch. 149, Sec. 1, eff. Sept. 1, 1987. Amended by Acts 1989, 71st Leg., ch. 1248, Sec. 52, eff. Sept. 1, 1989.



Section  192.007.  Records Of Releases And Other Actions.

(a) To release, transfer, assign, or take another action relating to an instrument that is filed, registered, or recorded in the office of the county clerk, a person must file, register, or record another instrument relating to the action in the same manner as the original instrument was required to be filed, registered, or recorded.

(b)  An entry, including a marginal entry, may not be made on a previously made record or index to indicate the new action.

Added by Acts 1989, 71st Leg., ch. 1248, Sec. 53, eff. Sept. 1, 1989.


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