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L.A. Recorder’s Office: CA Notary certificate violations cause for rejection

County recorders in California are rejecting documents with non-compliant certificate wording.

County recorders in California are taking seriously the new law requiring notarial certificates to contain a consumer notice, and even technical mistakes are cause for rejection.

Non-compliant Notary documents lead to rejection

This was illustrated recently when officials with the Los Angeles County Recorder’s office reported receiving documents with the new wording in the wrong location — and those documents will be rejected.

As of January 1, all California acknowledgments, jurats and proofs of execution are required to include the consumer notice, which must be in a box located before the venue.

“We’re seeing county recorders examine notarial certificates very carefully, and anything deemed to be out of compliance with the new law is cause for rejection,” said Bill Anderson, the NNA’s Vice President of Legislative Affairs. “The L.A. Recorder’s office flagged these documents because the  consumer notice was in the wrong place.”

Reject document


The documents in question were prepared by a major national title company. While they included the consumer notice and put it in a box, it was placed before the date and signatures on the grant deeds. The venue, which included the words “State of California, County of Los Angeles” appeared below the date, with the signature lines of the grantors to the right.

Dealing with Notary certificate compliance issues

In a recent online NNA survey of California Notaries, a majority of respondents said they have encountered documents with incorrect wording.

The simplest way to fix any compliance issues is to use a loose certificate, Anderson said. Simply draw a diagonal line through the incorrect wording and write, “See attached certificate.” Then complete the loose certificate and staple it to the document.

The NNA currently is surveying California recorders offices to find out what other issues they are seeing with the new certificate wording.

NNA members can download updated California certificates for free online, and non-members can purchase compliant California certificates through the NNA as well.

Michael Lewis is Managing Editor of member publications for the National Notary Association.

Related Articles:

What businesses need to know about the new CA Notary wording

Five things you need to know about the new CA Notary certificate wording

New CA Certificate Law: Seven FAQs answered

Additional Resources:

NNA members may download updated certificates for free online as a membership benefit.

Non-members can access compliant California certificates.

View All: Notary News


Add your comment

Rhonda Gonzalez

09 Feb 2015

I have had several deeds of trust rejected recently for recording due to the above issue. However, everything recorded for the first 30 days. The borrowers signature lines are in the same place they have always been. The only rule I have been able to find about the new wording is that it must be in a box above the venue. It says nothing about borrowers signatures needing to be moved above the box. Is this a rule or are the county recorders making this decision on their own? Very frustrating!

Bill Anderson

09 Feb 2015

Rhonda, Thanks for your comment. The new law didn't say anything about the placement of the signature lines. The issue is not that the signature lines weren't in the proper place before. It's just that with the new law change, the old way of formatting deeds with the signature lines over on the right side opposite the acknowledgment is now considered to be out of compliance. If you notice the consumer notice with the box spans the entire width of the page. Anything below that is not expressly part of the acknowledgment certificate is out of place. Also, recorders are now more firm about rejecting documents without compliant notarial certificates whereas perhaps earlier in the year they were more lenient.

Sara childers

09 Feb 2015

I love these updates good jo! I had a stroke in 2013 & I can only say that I wish someone would prepare these updates in state & date order in a pamphlet for notaries to urchase perhaps by States. I don't have a impute rant more either. Thank u for listening sent from my phone. Sara childers

Heidi Ehrich

09 Feb 2015

We had one rejected because the print wasn't dark enough. ?!? Anyone else experience this?

Julie B.

06 Jan 2023

I have a serious issue with my the Quitclaim Deed, which was created in 2019, signed by my father back then, and notarized at the same time, being now rejected because apparently notary acknowledgment was not properly done. It was attached to the deed but the words of the acknowledgment not crossed out on the actual document. They told us that notary needs to fix it by attaching new certificate and crossing out acknowledgment on the first page. But here is the problem, my father is deceased as of two weeks ago and the notary who performed notarization in 2019 no longer has her license. What do we do in situation like that? The document is crucial to fund our family trust. It’s extremely frustrating if the document was only rejected because of new change in the requirements which should not have affected us since the document was signed and notarized in 2019 prior to the changes made.

National Notary Association

10 Jan 2023

Hello. We're sorry, but those are legal questions that need to be answered by a qualified attorney.

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