Whiteacre is a tract of land in a jurisdiction that has a recording act. The recording act requires that all documents relating to interests in real property be recorded in a designated government office. This office maintains both grantor and grantee indices, which people can use to research interests in land.
The owner of Whiteacre, O, conveys Whiteacre to A. O retains possession of Whiteacre. Neither O nor A immediately records this deed. A then conveys Whiteacre to B, who immediately and properly records the deed. O remains in possession of Whiteacre.
Subsequently, O conveys Whiteacre to C, who immediately and properly records this deed. C pays O $250,000 for Whiteacre. At the time of the sale, C has no knowledge of the prior conveyances from O to A and from A to B. O remains in possession of Whiteacre.
C later conveys Whiteacre to D, who immediately and properly records the deed. Like C, D lacks knowledge of the prior conveyances from O to A and from A to B.
After D records the deed from C, A properly records the deed from O to A.
The relevant recording act includes the following provision:
No conveyance of an interest in land shall be valid against any subsequent purchaser for value, without notice thereof, unless the conveyance is recorded at the time the subsequent purchaser takes title. A conveyance that is recorded but outside the subsequent purchaser’s chain of title shall be deemed unrecorded as to any subsequent purchaser for value.
After C conveys to D, B asserts ownership of Whiteacre.
QuestionAs between B and D, who holds lawful title to Whiteacre? Explain.
As between B and D, who holds lawful title to Whiteacre? Explain.