Navigating Michigan’s “One Recordable Event” Rule

In Michigan, every document submitted for recordation with a register of deeds must adhere to MCL 565.201.  Among these requirements, the first line of print on the first page of the instrument must display a single statement identifying the recordable event associated with the instrument (MCL 565.201(1)(f)(ii)).   The statute explicitly states that after April 1, 1997, a register of deeds cannot record an instrument if its Identifying Statement identifies multiple recordable events (MCL 565.201(3)).

This poses a challenge for Michigan practitioners, particularly lenders, as many recordable instruments often cover more than one “recordable event.”  For instance, a mortgage typically encompasses not just the mortgage itself, but also an assignment of lease and rents, and a fixture filing financing statement.

Luckily, there are provisions within MCL 565.201 that alleviate the burden of the “one recordable event rule”:

  • Any instrument received and recorded by a register of deeds is conclusively presumed to comply with the recording statute (MCL 565.201(4)); and
  • A register of deeds shall not reject an instrument for recording because of the content of the instrument if the instrument complies with the provisions of the recording statute and any other provisions of law related to the recording of instruments (MCL 565.201(5)).

In practice, most county registers of deeds in Michigan accept recording instruments that include multiple recordable events so long as the caption of the document lists only a single recordable event.  For example, a document titled “Mortgage” is typically accepted for recording, even if it includes an assignment of leases and rents and a security agreement.

Related Practice Areas:

Real Estate | Commercial Leasing

About the Author:

Erin Johnson’s practice focuses on advising entities and individuals in the acquisition, disposition, leasing, development, and financing of office, retail, multi-family, and mixed-use projects throughout the United States. Erin is also experienced in a wide variety of corporate matters including entity formation, organization, and governance. You can reach Erin at 248-205-2526 or Her full bio can be viewed here.