Iowa county recorders continue to provide services, even when the courthouse doors are closed. Mail is received and processed regularly. In fact, many counties set up drop boxes to more easily receive paper documents for recording or other processing. Electronically submitted documents are also processed via Iowa Land Records.
During the COVID-19 crisis, Governor Kim Reynolds stated that the services provided by county recorders are essential, and that recorders have a “central role” in the real estate industry and the larger economy. She noted that the discontinuation of these services would have “a devastating impact on Iowa.” County recorders made various accommodations for their customers, some by providing access to their offices by appointment, others by helping with land record searches over the phone or via email. Circumstances differed by county, but it is important to note that every Iowa county has continued to provide recording services throughout the COVID-19 disaster.
The national Property Records Industry Association (pria.us) recently stated that during this challenging time “it is important to focus on the critical and essential function of the recorder’s office to power, sustain and restore the U.S. economic engine.”
Although recently lifted restrictions didn’t directly impact county government, these changes could potentially lead to increased office accessibility to your local county recorder’s office. Each county and board of supervisors can enact changes that will affect public access to their offices. While some counties are now open to the public, others are still making decisions about how and when they will reopen. Each reopening will look a little different, as each county has the discretion to determine what policies and procedures they will follow when reopening. Many counties are preparing for office re-openings by installing plexiglass barriers to separate county employees from customers, as well as implementing health screenings, social distancing procedures and sanitation standards.
The Iowa Land Records team continues to work closely with recorders to provide up-to-date information about the status of each county on our Coronavirus (COVID-19) Response page. Please review this page to gain a better understanding about what to expect from each county. It is safe to say that most customers can expect their next visit to a county recorder’s office to look quite different than before.