OH House Bill 525


State: Ohio
Signed: January 06, 2009

Effective: July 01, 2009


House Bill 525 introduces document formatting standards for real property and other documents that are recorded in a county recorder’s office and imposes an additional $20 per-document fee for documents that do not conform to the new requirements. Notaries should be especially mindful to ensure that seal images do not protrude into the assigned margins of the documents.


Adds Section 317.114 to the Ohio Revised Code.

  1. Institutes the following document formatting requirements for the recordation of documents with a county recorder: (a) print size not smaller than 10-points; (b) minimum paper size is 8½ x 11 inches and maximum paper size is 8½ x 14 inches; (c) use of blue or black ink color only; (d) no highlighting allowed; and (e) side margins of 1 inch, bottom margin of 1½ inches, first page top margin of 3 inches to accommodate the recorder’s certification or indorsement stamp with a 1½-inch top margin on each additional page.
  2. Authorizes a recorder to charge an additional $20 per document if the document does not conform to the new document formatting standards.
  3. Exempts the following documents from the new recording format requirements: (a) any document that originates with any court or taxing authority; (b) Any document authorized to be recorded under section 317.24 of the Revised Code; (c) Any plat, as defined in section 711.001 of the Revised Code, (d) Any document authorized to be recorded that originates from any state or federal agency; and (e) Any document executed before the effective date of the new law.

House Bill 525 introduces new document formatting standards for any document presented for recordation with the county recorder’s office. HB 525 went into effect July 1, 2009, without showing up on the NNA’s radar because the word “Notary,” “seal” or “acknowledgment” does not formally appear in the bill. In a discussion with the Ohio Secretary of State’s office, the NNA learned that it is the predominant view among county recorders polled that the new margin requirements will be strictly enforced. Thus, an impression of the Notary’s official seal that protrudes into the margins could be grounds for the recorder charging the additional $20 fee for documents that do not conform to the new standards. Or, if a Notary elects to use an embosser as the official seal and affix certain commission-related information required by law using a supplemental inking rubber stamp, the Notary must take care to ensure that this information appears within the margins. The same poll of county recorders yielded a consensus that two other requirements of HB 525 — using blue or black ink and print size of at least 10-point type — do not particularly apply to Notary signatures or seals, but that Notaries should ensure that their signatures and seal impressions are legible and photocopiable. However, erring on the side of caution, the NNA advises Notaries to use only blue or black ink to affix a signature and seal impression and, if at all possible, to use an official inking seal with information in at least 10-point type.

In addition, the new standards do not permit highlighting of any kind. Notary Signing Agents know from experience that lenders and closing agents often highlight the signature lines and spaces for initials on loan documents, including the recordable instruments, to ensure that the Notary Signing Agent does not “miss” a signature or initial. Under the new law, these documents would be subject to the $20 penalty.

Read House Bill 525.