A subsequent bona fide purchaser who has a superior interest over a prior unrecorded interest may transfer his or her bona fide purchaser’s status to future individuals who would not otherwise qualify as bona fide purchasers. Under the “Shelter Doctrine,” these future individuals prevail over the prior unrecorded interests, even if they took the deed to the property without notice of the prior unrecorded interest.
- Example : Trent sells his property to Alice on Monday; before Alice records the deed, Trent sells the same property to Ben, a bona fide purchaser unaware of Trent’s previous sale of the same property. Ben then sells the property to Cathy, but Alice notifies Cathy of the deed conveyed from Trent to Alice before the sale to Cathy occurs. Since Cathy has notice of the prior sale, Cathy does not qualify as a bona fide purchaser. However, under the shelter doctrine, Cathy will receive the same treatment as Ben, and will prevail over Alice in a legal action regarding the ownership of the property.