Virginia Quit Claim Deed Form
As far as legal forms go, the Virginia Quit Claim Deed is a relatively basic document that outlines an agreement for a Grantor to hand over their interest in a property to a Grantee. While there are no legal restrictions against strangers using this agreement, buyers (i.e., Grantees) are cautioned against entering into one with sellers (i.e., Grantor) they are unfamiliar with. The reason being that there is absolutely no buyer protection they can fall back on if they receive less interest than they were expecting—or none at all. This could happen if the Grantor either maliciously or accidentally asserts that they have interest which, in actual fact, they do not have. The easiest way for the Grantee to prevent this from happening is to undertake a title search.
Laws: Code of Virginia, Title 55.1: “Property and Conveyances”
N.B. Prior to October 1, 2019, Title 55 was the law governing property conveyances. From October 1, 2019, Title 55.1 will be the law which governs property conveyances. The provisions contained in Title 55.1 are substantially different from Title 55, so the Grantor and Grantee should ensure they are referring to the most up-to-date laws, as provided by this guide.
Statutory form of a Deed repealed (§ 55-75): As explained above, Title 55 has now been repealed. It contained a statutory form for a Deed and clarified the effect that words of release would have. These have both been removed in the updated laws (i.e., Title 55.1)
Recording standards: Certain standards must be met for a Virginia Quit Claim Deed to be valid for recording. The Library of Virginia has a set of recording standards that must be followed. The standards relate to such matters as the quality of the paper, the ink used, and the margins in the document. Each county in the state may also have their own set of standards that must be followed. So the party filing the form should ensure the finished document reflects any standards relevant to their circumstances.
Cover sheet (§ 17.1-227.1): Depending on the requirements of each county or city, a cover sheet may be required when the Quit Claim Deed is presented for recording. If a cover sheet is not required, it should be ensured that the required set forth by § 17.1-223 are duly upheld instead.
Signing requirements (§ 55.1-600): All Virginia Quit Claim Deeds are subject to the state’s laws regarding the acknowledgment and proof of legal documents. That is, the form must either be acknowledged by the Grantor, or proved by two (2) witnesses in the circuit court, before the clerk, or their duly qualified deputy where or with whom the recording is made (as explained in the next section) or in the manner prescribed in Articles 2 ( § 55.1-612 et seq.), 3 (§ 55.1-616 et seq.), and 4 (§ 55.1-624 et seq.).
N.B. While the signing requirements for property conveyances contained within the current (§ 55.1-600) and former (§ 55-106) chapters are nearly identical, they do reference different laws. The current chapter states that the acknowledgment or proof may be made in the manner stated above. Whereas, the former chapter states that it may be made in “…the manner prescribed in Articles 2 (§ 55-113 et seq.), 2.1 (§ 55-118.1 et seq.), and 3 (§ 55-119 et seq.).
How to file a Quit Claim Deed in Virginia (§ 55.1-600): The Virginia Quit Claim Deed should be recorded with “the circuit court of any county or city, or the clerk of any such court, or his duly qualified deputy, in his office.” Fees that the circuit court, clerk, or deputy of the clerk charges must be paid, as required.
§ 55.1-315 outlines that unless the conveyance is recorded, it will be legally void to “all purchasers for valuable consideration without notice.” These words confirm Virginia as a state with a “notice recording statute.” Essentially, this statute makes it mandatory to record all conveyances (including Quit Claim Deeds) because making such a recording provides other parties with the opportunity to be notified of its existence if they access public records. It is for this reason that recording a Deed serves as “notice” of it.
If another party does not have notice of the Quit Claim Deed, and due to this fact they purchase the property named in the unrecorded Deed, they will be permitted to retain the title of the property. Meanwhile, the party with the unrecorded Deed will bear the ultimate consequence of failing to do so; they will lose their claim to the title of the property.