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Homeowners warned of firms seeking fees for property documents

The Yolo County district attorney and county clerk recorder’s offices are warning residents of an increasingly common real estate practice involving companies that encourage homeowners to pay money to a third party for copies of their property documents.

These companies are known to charge residents upward of $80 for title deed copies and often ask for identifying and confidential information, including Social Security numbers, to complete the transaction, according to a District Attorney’s Office news release.

The letters often contain public information from the county Clerk Recorder’s Office and can look like an official document. The Clerk Recorder’s Office rarely sends letters to residents and will never ask for personal information, authorities said. They also note that property documents are public records, meaning that neither homeowners nor companies need to show identification or provide a Social Security number to receive copies of these documents.

The District Attorney’s Office recommends that homeowners obtain copies of property documents directly from the Yolo County clerk recorder. Copies can be requested via mail or in person at the Clerk Recorder’s Office in Woodland. The office charges $7.35 for the first page of a title deed copy and $2 for each additional page. Residents also receive the original copies of their deeds two to three weeks after they are recorded.

For more information about obtaining copies of property documents, go to www.yolorecorder.org/recording/copies, or www.yoloda.org. Information also is available by calling 855-496-5632.

Cathy Locke: 916-321-5287, @lockecathy

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