FAQ

Your Order

How do I place an order?

Orders can easily be placed online at www.atl-service.com on our Order page. Please call our office if you need assistance, and someone will aid you in placing your order.

Is a Folio Number, Legal Description, Owner Name and Address necessary to place an order?

No, but we need a minimum of 2 out of the 4 in order to ensure your search is done on the correct property.

How much does a municipal lien search cost?

We charge a standard search fee of $80 within Florida and $100 outside of Florida plus any out of pocket expenses that are incurred in the course of your search. These expenses vary by both county and municipality, information that is requested, and ordinances that do govern fees charged.

What are your general turnaround times? Why do some searches take longer than others?

With every order that you submit, you will receive a confirmation from us letting you know what the current and most up to date turnaround time is for your request. It is our goal to meet or beat that turnaround time with each and every request.

Municipalities and counties can vary greatly with their response times, with a variety of different reasons, and in many cases due to these agencies having to reduce staff.

Can I get rush service?

If rush service is available in the county or municipal agency where your property is located, we can. Many cities do not offer rush service. There may be an additional charge for rush service.

Is my search insured?

We carry Error and Omissions coverage of $1,000,000 for your protection and peace of mind.

How do I check the status of my order?

Once you are registered with our system, you have access to our Client Order Management section. In this section you can also find researcher contact information as well as directly communicate with your researcher. Additionally, you will find a list of all of your open orders, and a list of all of your prior orders. You can order updates directly from your history list.

Who do I contact if I have a question on my search?

We encourage you to contact the researcher assigned to your request. This can be found in the top right section of your report and also in the client order management section on our website. Your researcher will happily answer any questions that you may have.

What is your cancellation policy?

If an order cancels prior to the completion of the final report, we only bill what expenses we cannot recover. If the order cancels after our final report and documentation has been sent, we will credit back half of our Search Fee upon receipt of payment, but expenses remain due.

With cancelled files, it is important to notify us as soon as possible in order to increase the possibility of cancelling municipal expenses.

General Information

What is a municipal lien (Chapter 159) search?

A municipal lien search looks for any outstanding or pending issues that are not recorded (unrecorded liens) with the Clerk of the Courts. These issues include code violations, utility balances, special assessments, and real estate and tangible personal property taxes. In many cases, these issues turn into a municipal lien when left unresolved. Municipal issues when left unresolved or unpaid, will remain with the property and upon transfer of real property ownership, will become the responsibility of any future property owner.

What is a special assessment?

There are two types of special assessments. One is defined as a term used to designate a unique charge that the government can assess against real estate parcels for certain public projects. These can include road projects, street lighting projects, utility service construction, etc.

The second type of assessment is for any unpaid services or bills that are owed to any local governmental agency. These often include utility bills, lot clearing bills, and code enforcement fines. These unpaid charges become unrecorded liens against the property.

What is an open code violation and why do they need to be searched?

A code violation occurs when city or county ordinances are not followed by a property owner. These code violations remain with the property regardless of a change of ownership. This could lead to fines, as well as expenses to correct the violation, becoming the burden of the new property owner.

Code enforcement violations are excluded from coverage in a Owner’s Title Policy.

What is an open/expired permit and why do they need to be searched?

An open or expired permit is one that has not passed a final inspection by the issuing governmental agency. As with code violations, these remain with the property regardless of a change of ownership.

This could lead to major expenses for the new property owner to close the permits.

Open/Expired permits are excluded from coverage in a Owner’s Title Policy.

Why do I need an association estoppel?

Whenever there is a Transfer of Title, an estoppel should be obtained. An estoppel is different from a municipal lien search. An estoppel verifies any outstanding balances, special assessments, past due assessments, violation fees, legal fees, and approval requirements when the property is a part of a Homeowner’s Association or Condominium Association. In some cases, properties can belong to more than one association, in which case multiple estoppels would be needed.

What is the difference between this and what a title company searches?

A title search discloses any recorded liens on a property, however it does not uncover unrecorded liens against the property. Unrecorded liens are not covered by your Owner’s Policy, and a Transfer of Title does not remove unrecorded liens.

Will all liens appear on the report?

No. Although some recorded liens may show up during the course of an unrecorded lien search, there is no guarantee that they will. Unrecorded lien searches do not include federal/state tax liens, judgments, or bankruptcies.

Can Abramowitz help with payoff information on recorded liens?

Yes. Please contact us with the lien information and we will be happy to request a payoff for you.

What areas do you service?

We offer Nationwide Service.

What other services do you provide?

In addition to our Chapter 159 municipal lien search, we offer additional services including:

Permits searches, Estoppel service (HOA and Condo), Zoning verification letters, and UCC Searches. Please refer to our services page. If you have a service needed that is not listed here, please contact us for more information.

Do I need to do a municipal lien search on a condominium, co-op unit, or vacant land?

Yes. Individual condominium units and co-op units are subject to the same municipal liens enforceable by the governing municipality, even if the Utilities are paid by the governing association. Vacant land is also subject to the same municipal liens, even though there may not be a current structure on it.