On January 1, 1998, the name of the office changed from Register of Mesne Conveyances (RMC) to Register of Deeds (RoD). Current office holders, whether appointed or elected, were authorized to keep the name of RMC during their tenure in office, however, after their term, the name is to change to RoD.
The duties of the Register of Deeds are set out by the Code of Laws of South Carolina. The proper recording of documents provides notice to subsequent purchasers or creditors of the interests of others in the property and establishes priority of claims against that property. Generally, all instruments conveying an interest in real property must be recorded in that county's Register of Deeds in order to be valid. Other documents of public interest may also be recorded by the Register of Deeds.
The Register of Deeds exists as a separate governmental office in 22 counties in South Carolina. In Anderson, Beaufort, Cherokee, Clarendon, Colleton, Georgetown, Horry, Jasper, Kershaw, Lancaster, Oconee, Orangeburg, Pickens, Richland, Spartanburg, and Sumter, the position is appointed by the governing body. In the counties of Aiken, Berkeley, Charleston, Dorchester, Greenville, and Lexington, the holder of the office is elected. In the remaining 25 counties, the functions are performed by the elected Clerk of Court. Please note that Chesterfield County has the statutory authority (Section 30-5-10, SC Code) to appoint a register of deeds; however, at this time, the clerk of court serves in this capacity.