Definition - adj
[race from the notion of two parties rushing to the courthouse in order to be the first to record a claim or interest on the same property]
: of, relating to, or being a recording act which stipulates that an unrecorded deed, mortgage, or lien shall not be valid against a recorded one unless the recording party (as a subsequent purchaser from the same seller) had notice of the interest or claim of the other party when recording
compare notice pure race
If one party purchases a property and records the deed, a subsequent purchaser is normally held to know about it - to have «constructive notice" of it - as a matter of law since it is a matter of public record. Under a race-notice statute, however, a subsequent purchaser cannot have constructive notice of an unrecorded deed, and so the recorded deed has priority unless the purchaser actually knew about - had «actual notice" of - the unrecorded deed.

Pronunciation Key

  • \&\ as a and u in a b ut
  • \[^&]\ as e in kitt en
  • \&r\ as ur and er in f urther
  • \a\ as a inash
  • \A\ as a in ace
  • \?\ as o in m op
  • \au\ as ou in ou t
  • \ch\ as ch in ch in
  • \e\ as e in bet
  • \E\ as ea in easy
  • \g\ as g in go
  • \i\ as i in hit
  • \I\ as i in ice
  • \j\ as j in job
  • \[ng]\ as ng in sing
  • \O\ as o in go
  • \o\ as aw in law
  • \oi\ as oy in boy
  • \th\ as th in thin
  • \[th_]\ as thin the
  • \?\ as oo in loot
  • \u\ as oo in foot
  • \y\ as y in yet
  • \zh\ as si in vision

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Based on Merriam-Webster's Dictionary of Law ©2001.
Merriam-Webster, Incorporated
Published under license with Merriam-Webster, Incorporated.