Free Washington DC Quitclaim Deed Form

Using the Quitclaim Deed in Washington DC

An understanding of the transfer of property rights in the Washington District of Columbia is important for anyone wishing to transfer property. The reason for this is that property transfers are made possible by property deeds, and the deeds can be quite confusing. Take warranty deeds for example, how and when is it used? And how do quitclaim deeds differ from general warranty or special warranty deeds? When should you use one and not the other?

Well, this article outlines everything you need to know about property deeds in the District of Columbia, with a lot more focus on the quitclaim deeds.

What is a quitclaim deed?

A quitclaim deed, also called a quitclaim or even a non-warranty deed refers to a real property conveyance instrument without warranties on the title, and is acceptable in the statutes. It is the fastest property ownership/ title conveyance tools, which accounts for its mistaken identity as a quick claim deed. Being a legal property deed, it must be in writing.

Also worth mentioning is the fact that the quitclaim is versatile. Besides the facilitation of real property rights’ transfers from the conveyor/ grantor to the recipient/ grantor, this deed could also be used to clear issues from a title, to effectuate a change in name, or to add or remove someone’s (spouse’s) name from a title. It’s common in divorces where, following a court decree or not, a spouse quits their claim in a marital property because of the court’s decision to grant the other spouse ownership of the property in question. When applying for title insurance, your insurer runs a title search, and if there is a break in the chain of title, your insurer asks you to use a quitclaim to clear the issue (cloud) from the deed.

The other use of this deed is seen in estate planning where a grantor uses a quitclaim to transfer real property rights to their children or a trust. In business, a quitclaim could be used in the transfer of property to an LLC or even a corporation.

Even with all these impressive uses, the quitclaim has one limitation: it does not provide any warranties on the transferred title or the ownership of the property. So, if an issue arises with that title in future, the grantee will have no legal recourse/basis against the grantor. When signed (executed), the quitclaim communicates the fact that the deed is transferring the property rights held by the grantor at the time of the conveyance. It also communicates the fact that the title is transferred as-is and it might have undisclosed liens or encumbrances, or not.

The warranty deeds, on the other hand, offer warranty for the title being transferred. The general warranty deed gives a grantee the highest possible level of protection – you could think of this deed as the grantor’s certification of the title being clear of defects, and the property belonging to the grantor legally. But, if you are a grantor and you’d like to assure the grantee that the title is clear, to the best of your knowledge (during the period of your ownership), the special warranty deed will cover you.

  • Precautions When Using a Quitclaim

    • The quitclaim doesn’t work in your favor all the time. Despite its diverse uses, there are precautions you should be aware of like:

    • The quitclaim, if not recorded, might mean the loss of ownership rights in property, should someone else come in after the transfer and purchase the property in good faith, paying a valuable consideration for it.

    • Also, the use of a quitclaim during or after a divorce to quit your rights in the marital property will not release you from your mortgage debt obligation. The only way to go about this debt is asking your ex-spouse to refinance the mortgage plan so that they are the only ones listed as the party responsible for the mortgage debt – this should be done before quitclaiming. Otherwise, the lenders will keep knocking.

Preparing a Quitclaim in the District of Columbia

The statutes require that you meet specific requirements when using a quitclaim deed in Washington DC.

One of these requirements involves the use of the appropriate quitclaim form. But, there are way too many DC forms online, which is why you might want to use our free Washington DC quitclaim deed form. It’ll also serve as a template to guide in the recording of the deed.

  • Once you have your form, fill it with these details:

    • Dated with the deed’s execution date

    • It must have the grantor’s signature, as well as their full name and address.

    • The grantee’s full name and mailing address should also be included in the deed.

    • The details – type and amount of consideration that is paid for the property

    • The full and succinct description of the real property (legal)

    • The signature(s) must be acknowledged by the notary public or any other authority allowed to administer oaths legally.

Quitclaim Recordation

The Washington District of Columbia uses the “race-notice” standard/ system of recording legal instruments. According to the statutes, deeds that have been executed, acknowledged, and then signed off/certified, and also delivered to a grantee is regarded as effective, from its delivery date. But, this deed must be submitted to the county recorder’s office for all parties involved, and the public to receive notice of the change in property ownership.

The state also comes with provisions applicable when there at two or even more quitclaims recorded for one property, in good faith and with valuable consideration paid. In such cases, the state provides priority of ownership to the deed that is recorded first.

Having said all that, are you ready to transfer rental property rights in the Washington DC area? Download our free quitclaim deed form here, to get things moving.