The District of Columbia was created in 1790 along the Potomac River from land donated by the states of Maryland and Virginia. The city of Washington, named in honor of the first U.S. president, was founded to serve as the nation’s capital, while the settlements of Georgetown and Alexandria already existed. In 1846, the land that had been ceded from Virginia was returned to that state, leaving just the municipality of Washington within the District. The estimated population of this 68.3 square mile area is 658,893.
The District of Columbia Recorder of Deeds, an administration of the Office of Tax and Revenue, is responsible for maintaining all land records and general public instruments for the District of Columbia. The office of the recorder of deeds is accountable for transfer tax and filing fees on instruments being recorded and maintains these records for public inspection.
Land records are public documents, and individuals who need information are allowed to perform their own search. To do a public records search online, you will have to visit the District of Columbia Recorder of Deeds Website. While on the website, click on “Online Public Records”; you will leave the Government of the District of Columbia website and be directed to a website that is created, operated, and maintained by a private business. The website has easy to follow steps that will direct you to the records that are available. It is important to note that the Recorder of Deeds does not warrant or guarantee the accuracy of information obtained from the website; it is the duty of the user to assess the accuracy of the information obtained. The District of Columbia website also has the fee schedule applicable when requesting records. For assistance with extensive land records research, please consider hiring an attorney familiar with Land Records or a local title company.
The other way to obtain land records is by visiting the recorder of deeds’ offices in person. You will be required to download and fill the records request form from the District of Columbia website; on the form indicate the exact details for the records you are requesting. Alternatively, you can the office at (202) 727-5374 and make enquiries regarding public records.
Below is the physical address of the District of Columbia Recorder of Deeds office:
District of Columbia Government
Recorder of Deeds
1101 4th Street, SW, 5th Floor
Washington, DC 20024
Hours: Monday to Friday, 8:30 am- 4:30 pm