Personl Liens and Property Lien Searches – How liens are filed to levy

Question: 

The report doesn’t have a section for judgment liens. The report only says no personal liens found. The owner of the property “5163 5165 Long Beach LLC” has an abstract of judgment filed against them according to the San Diego County Recorder’s records. Why doesn’t this show up on the report?

Thank you,

Monica

 

Answer:

Hello, there is an “Involuntary and voluntary” lien section of the report. This is what the county currently has recorded and indexed for the subject property in the way of liens and encumbrances.

There maybe outstanding liens filed against the individual as general liens however.

Thank you,
Jesse M

 

Client response:

Hi Jesse,

Why wouldn’t general liens filed against the individual show up on your report? There is a judgement lien against the owner of the property recorded with the San Diego county recorder. I don’t understand why that wouldn’t show up on the report. Can you explain why that doesn’t show up on your report?

Thank you,

Monica J.

 

Customer support response:

Hello, again this is what the county currently has recorded and indexed for the subject property in the way of liens and encumbrances. These searches are for the property and provide property records that would directly affect title and conveyance, not the individual.

I can refer you to an affiliate that does entity and business searches if you would like.

Jesse M.

Thank you,
Jesse M.

 

Client response:

Hi Jesse,

Thank you for the information and clarification. I have an abstract of judgement filed against the owner of the property that was recorded with the San Diego county recorder’s office back in May. The abstract of judgement is supposed to create a lien against the property, but your report doesn’t show the judgement lien. The county recorder’s office refuses to tell me if there is a lien on the property or if it can be sold, and keeps telling me to go through a title search company. For whatever reason, the county recorder doesn’t attach the abstract of judgement to the assessor parcel number of the property. They claim that the owner’s name will be cross referenced in a search and that is how to tell if there is a lien on the person’s property. In general, do title search companies just search county records by the assessor parcel number or address or do they also search by the property owner’s name as well? In your experience, is it common that judgement liens against a person aren’t necessarily attached to the property they own? I appreciate your help.

Thanks,

Monica J

 

Customer support response:

Dear Monica,

Yes, we provide information for personal liens that are recorded against a given property in that person’s name. In other words, if the IRS has a general lien against an individual but does not record a notice against the property address or addresses that person owns, that lien will not appear on our property report. Does that make more sense? I am sorry for the confusion.

I will have a representative from U.S. Debt Research contact you and I will ask that they run a courtesy search on the individual for you. We are affiliated with that company, but we are two separate legal entities.

Again, we apologize for the confusion. Let us know if you have additional questions.

 

Thank you,

Jeannie

Customer support team

 

Client response:

Hi Jeannie,

I am getting conflicting information. According to the San Diego County Assessor’s office and the California Superior Court legal advisor, when an abstract of judgment is recorded with the County Recorder that automatically creates a lien against the judgment debtor’s property. They both said that a title search will cross reference the property owner’s name. Procedures, laws, and rules are different in every state and county.

 

Thanks,

Monica

 

Customer support response:

Dear Monica,

Yes, a judgment creates a lien, but it will not appear on the property lien report unless it is properly recorded with the county. Yes, a title search would cross-reference the owner’s name to find judgments or other liens not recorded to make them public record, but a property lien report is not the same as a title search (also known as a preliminary title report).

Property lien reports reflect liens that are recorded against a given property to make them public notice and are generally used as a research tool by our investor clients during the “shopping process” before making an offer on a property. Once an offer is made and accepted, a preliminary title report is ordered. Please note that this is generally the process for seasoned real estate investors who choose to close their own transactions.
Conventional buyers use the property lien report during the shopping process and then retain a conventional title company to open escrow once an offer is made and accepted. The conventional title company then produces a preliminary title report with a title commitment to issue a policy insuring the buyer against any defects to title after closing.

I hope this clarifies the confusion. Still, the satisfaction of our clients is our top priority. I requested from U.S. Debt Research a courtesy individual search and received the authorization today. All I need is the name of the individual from you. I will then forward that name together with your contact email to their records department. The rep told me that the report will be emailed to you directly within 24 hours.

Please respond to this communication with the name of the individual and any other questions you have. Thank you for your business and your patience.

If any lien (judgment, HOA, mortgage, etc.) is properly recorded, YES, it should be on the property lien report and if it’s not, it would be an error in the database. I thought you were talking about a general lien that was not recorded.

Please let me know what information you have on the recorded lien that did not appear on the report and I will remedy the situation and make sure that you are issued an immediate refund. This happens very rarely, but it does happen which is why the county database has liability disclaimers.

I look forward to hearing from you.

 

 

Thank you,

Jeannie

Customer support team

 

Follow up:

Monica,

I should clarify that if the recorded lien was improperly recorded under the owner’s name and not against the property, it would not be on the property report. It would show up under the owner’s name (and that is the type of search that is cross-referenced by the preliminary title report and why it costs more money than the property report).

In other words, a judgment lien should be indexed in the database under the owner’s name and the subject property address it affects. Unfortunately, sometimes there are errors and they are recorded or indexed incorrectly. An HOA lien, on the other hand, is only recorded against a the property and not under the owner’s name because liability runs with ownership of the property. So if you ran a search under the owner’s name, an HOA lien would not appear in the results.

Please let me know if this makes more sense or if it’s just more confusing. I can reach out to my supervisor for help.

Thank you,

Jeannie B.
Client Services
www.UsTitleRecords.com