Tennessee Deed Recording Requirements
Tennessee deeds must satisfy the state’s legal requirements to be effective and recordable. Tennessee’s deed requirements deal with formatting, necessary information, signing, and fees due for recording.
Formatting Requirements for Tennessee Deeds
Tennessee’s deed formatting standards are based primarily on custom rather than on state statutes. A deed formatted along the following lines is consistent with Tennessee’s ordinary customs.
Tennessee deeds should be printed on paper not smaller than 8½ × 11 inches (letter size) and not larger than 8½ × 14 inches (legal size). Paper should be white and at least 20-pound weight.
Text within a deed should be written in 10-point font or larger and should be printed in black ink only.
A deed’s first page should have top and bottom margins of 3 inches or larger. Side margins and all margins on subsequent pages should be 1 inch.
A Tennessee deed must be written in the English language. A deed in a different language may be recorded only if an affidavit with a complete translation to English is attached to the deed.1
The county register may reject a deed that is insufficiently legible to allow for recording and creation of readable copies.2 An illegible deed can be accepted if accompanied by an affidavit with all required information. 3
Tennessee deeds customarily include a title—such as Quitclaim Deed or Special Warranty Deed—below the first page’s top margin.
Information Requirements for Tennessee Deeds
Tennessee law requires deeds to contain certain information. A valid Tennessee deed must include each of the items below.
Current Owner and New Owner Identifying Information
Tennessee deeds must identify by name, address, and marital status the new owner transferring property (the grantor) and the new owner receiving the transfer (the grantee). 4
A deed must include a granting clause—or language that states that the current owner transfers the property or the owner’s interest in the property to the new owner. Granting clause language depends on the type of deed and warranty of title.5 A deed that transfers property to two or more new owners should specify their form of co-ownership.
A deed must include a valid legal description of the transferred property—which should identify the state, county, and municipality (if applicable) in the first paragraph. Legal descriptions are subject to the following rules:
- If the deed uses the same property description as the most recent deed affecting the property, the deed must identify the prior deed.
- If the deed uses a new property description, the deed must identify the surveyor by name, address, and license number.
- If the deed uses a new property description but does not involve a new survey, the deed must identify the source of the new description.6
A Tennessee deed must include a derivation clause identifying the deed or other instrument that is the source of the current owner’s title.7 If the current owner received the property through a recorded deed, the derivation clause must identify the type of deed, book and page number, and recording office.8
Parcel Identification Number
A deed must state the county assessor’s parcel identification number assigned to the property.9
Transfers in Metropolitan Government Areas
Deeds transferring real estate located in an area with a metropolitan government must meet the following requirements:
- Property identification map number. If the metropolitan government has adopted an official property identification map, a deed must include the property’s assigned property number or identifying symbol.10
- Property street and mailing address. Deeds transferring improved properties in metropolitan government areas must identify the property’s house or street number and post office address at the end of the legal description.11
Note: A metropolitan government under Tennessee law is a single local government that handles both county and city roles.12 Tennessee’s three consolidated metropolitan governments are Nashville/Davidson County, Moore County/Lynchburg, and Hartsville/Trousdale County.
Tennessee deeds customarily state nominal consideration—such as “for ten dollars ($10.00).” A warranty deed may state zero consideration if the transfer is between spouses, to a revocable living trust, or to an exempt entity. Deeds not exempt from transfer tax must include—within the deed or in an accompanying affidavit—a separate statement of consideration or value verified by the new owner. 13
A deed must identify by name and address the person who prepared the deed. The Tennessee law suggests the following phrase: “This instrument was prepared by (Preparer Name), (Preparer Address).” 14
Address for Property Tax Statements
A deed must identify the name and address of the person responsible for paying the property tax due for the property after the transfer.15
Tennessee deeds should—but are not required to—provide a return address where the register of deeds will return the recorded deed. Register of deeds offices ask for a pre-addressed envelope with the same return address as the deed.
Signing Requirements for Tennessee Deeds
The owner who is transferring property must sign a Tennessee deed consistent with Tennessee’s legal standards. Tennessee also requires the new owner’s signature on most deeds—unlike most other states.
Current Owner Signature
The current owner transferring property must sign a Tennessee deed.16 The name used for the signature must be identical to the current owner’s name in the deed’s granting clause and notary certificate.
Power of Attorney
An agent acting under a signed power of attorney may sign a deed on the property owner’s behalf.17 The deed must show that the signer is acting as the owner’s agent.18 The agent typically signs the owner’s name and writes the agent’s name “as agent” or “as agent under power of attorney.”
An officer, owner, trustee, or other authorized agent signs a deed for an owner that is an entity. For example, a trustee signs a deed for a trust.19 A member, manager, or authorized officer of an LLC signs for the company—depending on whether the LLC is member-managed, manager-managed, or director-managed. 20
Spouse’s Signature for Homestead
A deed that transfers a married person’s homestead must be signed by both spouses—even if only one spouse owns the property. 21
A deed should indicate the effective date of the transfer.22 The date in the notary acknowledgment is the effective date if no other date is given.
Signatures within a deed must be acknowledged before a notary or other officer with authority to take acknowledgments.23 The owner’s signature—as an alternative to notarization—may be proved by two witnesses signing under oath.24 The Tennessee Code includes suggested notary certificates for individual signers, agents, and business entities.25
New Owner’s Verification of Consideration
The new owner—or the new owner’s agent or trustee—must sign a deed to verify the property value or actual consideration for the transfer. The statement of consideration may be included on the face of the deed or in an affidavit of consideration attached to the deed.26 Deeds that are exempt from recordation tax do not require the new owner’s verification. 27
The statement of consideration, if required, must be signed and notarized and should be substantially similar to: “I hereby swear that the actual consideration or value, whichever is greater, for this transfer is $_______.” Exempt deeds typically state the basis of the exemption in place of the statement of consideration.
Recording Office and Fees for Tennessee Deeds
Tennessee statutes use the word registered—rather than recorded—for the process of formally adding a deed to the county’s official land records. A person requesting registration must present the deed to the appropriate office and pay the required fees and taxes.
Recording Office for Deeds
Every Tennessee county has a county register responsible for maintaining the county’s land records.28 A deed must be filed in the register of deeds of the county where the property is located.29
County registers charge a filing fee of $5.00 per page—subject to a $10.00 minimum—for registering deeds.30 Tennessee law authorizes an additional $2.00 processing fee per deed, and counties with electronic recording may charge an additional $2.00 fee for electronic submissions.31 The county register cannot accept a deed unless the required fee is paid.32
Tennessee Transfer Tax
Tennessee charges a recording tax for recording deeds and other documents transferring real estate.33 The register of deeds is prohibited from recording a deed unless the recording tax due (if any) is paid.34
Recording Tax Rate
Tennessee’s recording tax rate is $0.37 per $100.00 of the property’s value.35 A property’s value is the consideration for the transfer or (if greater) the property’s fair market value exchange.36 The tax is calculated based on the actual consideration if the transfer is made by quitclaim deed.37
Recording Tax Exemptions
Tennessee exempts certain recorded documents from recording tax.38 Common exempt deeds include:
- Deeds creating or ending a tenancy by the entirety by (a) transferring title from one spouse to the other, (b) transferring title from one or both spouses to the original property owner and his or her spouse; or (c) transferring title from one or both spouses to a trustee who immediately reconveys the property as tenants in common, tenants in common with right of survivorship, joint tenants, or joint tenants with right of survivorship;
- Deeds dividing real estate previously held by tenants in common;
- Deeds releasing a life estate to the remainder interest holder;
- Deeds from an estate’s executor to transfer property according to a deceased owner’s will;
- Deeds adjusting divorcing spouses’ property rights;
- Deeds transferring property to a living trust created by the transferor or spouse;
- Deeds from a living trust’s trustee back to the original transferor or spouse;
- Deeds from a living trust’s trustee to implement a testamentary provision of the person who created the trust;
- Deeds from a living trust or testamentary trust’s trustee to a beneficiary of the trust;
- Deeds relating to a corporation’s merger, consolidation, or transfer of substantially all of its assets under a plan of reorganization.39
Additional Forms Required with Tennessee Deeds
Tennessee does not require a separate recording tax return when filing deeds. The new owner must verify the consideration for the transfer on the face of the deed or in an accompanying affidavit.40
- Tenn. Code Ann. § 66-24-101(c).
- Tenn. Code Ann. § 66-24-101(b).
- Tenn. Code Ann. § 66-24-101(b)(2).
- Tenn. Code Ann. § 66-24-114.
- See Tenn. Code Ann. § 66-5-103 (optional forms for deeds).
- Tenn. Code Ann. § 66-24-121(a).
- Tenn. Code Ann. § 66-24-110(a)(1).
- Tenn. Code Ann. §§ 66-24-110(a)(1); 66-24-121(a).
- Tenn. Code Ann. § 66-24-122(a).
- Tenn. Code Ann. § 66-24-113(a).
- Tenn. Code Ann. § 66-24-113(b).
- Tenn. Code Ann. § 7-1-101(4) (defining “metropolitical government” as a “political entity created by consolidation of . . . the political and corporate functions of a county and a city or cities”).
- Tenn. Code Ann. § 67-4-409(a)(1)(F)(i).
- Tenn. Code Ann. § 66-24-115.
- Tenn. Code Ann. § 66-24-114.
- Tenn. Code Ann. § 66-22-101(a).
- Tenn. Code Ann. § 34-6-109(1).
- Tenn. Code Ann. § 66-5-104.
- Tenn. Code Ann. § 35-15-114(a).
- Tenn. Code Ann. § 48-249-402.
- Tenn. Code Ann. § 26-2-301(b).
- Tenn. Code Ann. § 66-5-109.
- Tenn. Code Ann. § 66-24-101(e).
- Tenn. Code Ann. §§ 66-5-106; 66-22-101(a).
- Tenn. Code Ann. §§ 66-22-107; 66-22-108.
- Tenn. Code Ann. § 67-4-409(a)(1)(F)(i).
- Tenn. Code Ann. § 67-4-409(a)(1)(E).
- Tenn. Code Ann. § 8-13-108.
- Tenn. Code Ann. § 66-24-103.
- Tenn. Code Ann. §§ 8-21-1001(b)(3) and (5).
- Tenn. Code Ann. §§ 8-21-1001(c) and (j).
- Tenn. Code Ann. § 8-13-111.
- Tenn. Code Ann. § 67-4-409.
- Tenn. Code Ann. § 67-4-409(a)(1)(F)(4).
- Tenn. Code Ann. § 67-4-409(a)(1).
- Tenn. Code Ann. § 67-4-409(a)(1)(A).
- Tenn. Code Ann. § 67-4-409(a)(1)(F)(iv).
- Tenn. Code Ann. §§ 67-4-409(a)(1)(C)(i)-(a)(1)(C)(viii).
- Tenn. Code Ann. § 67-4-409(e).
- Tenn. Code Ann. § 67-4-409(a)(1)(F).