Friday, September 09, 2011

Changes are Announced to Lauderhill's Lien Searches

In response to several inquiries received from real estate companies and title firms for expedited lien searches, the Finance Department has conducted an analysis of the City’s lien search program in relation to other cities with regards to cost and turnaround time.

In April 2011, staff evaluated 11 neighboring municipalities to compare the City’s fee structure and found that the average lien search fee is $47 and the average turnaround time for lien searches is 7.818 business days or 1 ½ weeks. Additionally, four cities are offering an expedited lien search with fees ranging from $50 to $125.

Currently, the City of Lauderhill charges $30 for lien requests and the average turnaround time is 14 calendar days. The following areas are researched for outstanding balances when completing the lien search: SHIP, CDBG, HOME, NSP, Recorded Liens in Broward County (including Association liens), Code Enforcement Violations and Liens, Certificate of Use, Miscellaneous Billing (Board Up, Sidewalk, Pool Services, Fence Services, Lot Clearing, Fire Inspections, Alarm Billing) and Utilities.

In order to accommodate a faster response time there will be a restructuring to the City’s current program which would incorporate the following:

1) Increase the regular lien search fee from $30 to $50 (Complete within 7 business days)

2) Include an express lien search fee of $100 (Complete within 24-48 hours)

3) Implement an online lien request form

4) Create an escrow account program for title companies

The City of Lauderhill strives to offer exemplary customer service to its citizens and all companies that do business here. As such, the proposal to reduce the turnaround time on lien requests includes the implementation of the online lien request form and the creation of an escrow account program. The former will allow individuals and companies to complete a one-time online lien request form that will be processed by staff within the required time frame, and the latter will enable companies that do a large volume of lien requests to have escrow accounts created by the City for their convenience.

These companies will provide a deposit by check to the City for the escrowed funds and receive a monthly statement which details all lien search charges deducted from their account. The MIS Division will assist the Finance Department in establishing the online lien request and escrow account program, and there is no additional staffing cost associated with developing or maintaining the program.

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