When acquiring an interest in immovable property (buying a house), it is critically important for the person acquiring that interest (buyer) to have a licensed attorney review the public records to determine what interests, if any, are in existence against the property, and the priority, or rank, of those interests in relation to each other.
Louisiana has a strict race system of recordation; first in time to file prevails. Under the Louisiana Public Records laws, in order for a holder of an interest in property to protect his interest, he must record the writing, creating that interest in the public records. His failure to do so leaves him at risk that subsequently created rights in the same property may have the effect of superseding his interest, and perhaps eliminating it entirely.
To illustrate this rule, consider the following example: Mary sells Bellingham Farm to John on Jan. 1, 2000. John fails to record the sale granting him ownership. Mary then sells Bellingham Farm to Sally on Jan. 1, 2014, who immediately records her sale. In a dispute as to who is the owner, Sally prevails due to the effect of the public records law, despite the fact that John actually purchased the property first.
ALL interests in immovable property must be recorded in the appropriate recording office to have effect against third persons. That is, a person who is not party to or personally bound by an instrument.
The following examples of real rights, in order to have effect against the rest of the world, must be recorded:
- Rights of habitation
- Servitudes such as rights of passage and utilities
- Most liens/privileges, judgements, leases, oil, gas and mineral leases and servitudes
- Restrictive covenants
The list of interests in land is potentially endless as Louisiana law allows for parties to create real rights other than those stipulated in the Civil Code or other legislation, as long as public policy is not violated. Those listed above are more commonly seen in residential real estate transactions.
If you are thinking of purchasing a property, choose to work with an experienced Realtor who is knowledgable about all facets of the real estate purchase. Our team of experienced and knowledgable agents are ready to guide you through the home buying process. Give us a call today at 985-778-2525.