Unrecorded Liens 101

July 17, 2020

There are a number of issues that can affect the title to real property. Unrecorded liens are just one potential cause for trouble. Here’s how to find them.

Examples of Unrecorded Liens

Here are a few examples that you should look out for:

  • Outstanding charges from the city for various services, such as snow removal, grass/weed cutting, or boarding up of abandoned property.
  • Code violations, such as missing railings. It is easy for ordinance violations to go undetected, and some fees can accrue on daily basis.
  • Outstanding utility bills. Delinquent utilities often go unnoticed until a new homeowner goes to turn on new service. An unpaid bill can cause of lien of thousands of dollars on a property.
  • Unresolved fees for inspections or certificates.
  • Special assessments for various property features, such as sewers, sidewalks, etc.


Responsibility of the Title Examiner

If a title examiner is aware of an unrecorded lien, they must show it in order for it to be terminated or an exception to title. Here are a few examples of such situations:

  • At the time of the closing, the seller mentions that they have a second mortgage on the property that was not shown on the commitment
  • A survey of the property shows a dirt road across it
  • There were references made to unrecorded liens on the property on the deed


Our Advice To Prevent Complications with Unrecorded Liens

Unfortunately, there is no single repository of information that you can search to ensure that you are aware of all unrecorded liens. We advise buyers to have a title search done that includes a municipal lien search in order to discovered unrecorded liens or encumbrances on a property. An HOA Estoppel letter is also strongly encouraged before the closing if the property belongs to an HOA. 

Why Choose All Lakeside Title?

Lakeside Title is title agency which searches public records in order to clarify legal and financial risk for lenders, realtors and other stakeholders to the real estate transaction process. We conduct prompt and accurate title searches, municipal lien searches, UCC searches and much more. We pride ourselves on providing accurate investigations, rapid turnaround time, streamlined paperless delivery, and unrivaled customer service. For more information, give us a call or visit our homepage today!