Property Title Searches in New York
The state of New York is widely known for its infamous landmarks such as Niagara Falls, the Empire State Building, Times Square, Central Park and the Statue of Liberty. With over 20 million residents, it is the fourth most populous state in the United States. Nearly half of the population lives just in New York City, the country’s most populous city.
What is the Difference Between a Title and a Deed?
Many beginner investors think that real estate has a similar title as a vehicle’s title. A vehicle’s title is a document that shows the car buyer as an owner of the title. Property records are quite different for real estate and property purchases. At the time of the purchase, the buyer gets a deed document signed by the seller, showing that the transaction took place. The deed document is typically filed in the county records where the property is located; however, title for the property is really a title search report showing all liens and judgments.
What Services are included in a New York Property Title Search?
A residential or commercial property search in New York will include title deeds to show ownership, open mortgages, judgments and liens. Assessment details are provided, as are taxes which can be quite tricky to locate. In some cases, tax certificates must be ordered to obtain the tax status for a particular jurisdiction. Additionally, foreclosure case documents are provided when a foreclosure action is present.
How Much Does a Title Search Cost in New York?
Type of Search
O&E Search (Residential)
Two Owner Search (Residential)
30-Year Search (Residential)
Township Search for Unrecorded Liens with Demolition Check
How are Taxes Collected in New York?
If the property is located in one of the boroughs, you’re in luck: the county collects property taxes for all entities. (The boroughs include Bronx, Kings/Brooklyn, Queens, Manhattan, Staten Island/Richmond). Outside of the boroughs is another story. Counties outside the boroughs can have a number of taxing entities that assess taxes separately and therefore must be paid separately. Let’s break it down.
- There will always be town and/or city tax.
- There will always be county tax.
- There will always be school tax.
- There may also be village tax.
Depending on the location, some of these bills may get combined (example: Town and County may get issued as one bill, or it could get issued in two separate bills). As you can see, you may be liable to pay taxes on a single property to four different jurisdictions!
What is Unique About New York’s Foreclosure Process?
It’s important to talk about two case laws (referred to here as Engel and Kessler) which pertain to New York’s mortgage foreclosure process. These have caused major hurdles for New York note investors, and they affect all counties in New York, including the boroughs. The case laws can potentially make the default (NPL/RPL) loans unenforceable due to the six year statute of limitation (SOL) after commencing the foreclosure.
The current "Engel" case decision allows the SOL clock to reset if the prior foreclosure case has a language of voluntary discontinuance in the dismissal of a prior foreclosure action, revoking the acceleration of debt and reinstating the mortgage (also referred to as a deceleration, removing the obligation to immediately repay the total outstanding balance due on the loan). The new "Anti-Engel" case, once signed into law, will introduce stricter guidelines on the language for each case dismissal,
requiring a proof of deceleration, making many NY loans with prior foreclosure actions unenforceable as the SOL "clock" on foreclosure will not be reset after the prior foreclosure’s dismissal. Therefore, the currently active foreclosure cases would be dismissible if the borrower invokes the SOL argument based on the new law.
Additionally, failure to strictly comply with the new Kessler case can result in the dismissal of the active foreclosure case due to 90-day notice defects. While the active case may be dismissed, refiling the new case might not allocate enough time to finish the foreclosure within the allotted SOL timeframe before the mortgage becomes unenforceable.
ProTitleUSA launched a new product to review the title and foreclosure case information on each foreclosure filing, followed by payment history review, as well as full servicing comments and collateral review. Learn more about our NY Foreclosure SOL Review and Risk Assessment here.
Commons Liens Found in the New York Boroughs
Sidewalk Liens, Environmental Control Bureau (ECB) and Department of Building (DOB) violations, as well as Water and Sewer delinquencies are common in the boroughs of New York.
- Sidewalk Liens/Violations: A sidewalk violation is an official notice issued by New York City’s Department of Transportation to a property owner, stating that the sidewalk is defective. If inspectors find an unsafe sidewalk defect, they issue a notice of violation. The city will attach them to the real property like a lien until the repair has been made and all fees have been paid.
- ECB Liens/Violations: ECB violations are issued when a property is not in compliance with construction codes or zoning resolutions as set out by the New York City Construction Codes or Zoning Resolution. The Department of Buildings issues the violation notices. Each violation will include an order to correct the cited conditions and some may also include an additional order to certify said correction.
- DOB Liens/Violations: A notice determining that a specific property is not in compliance with the law. A DOB violation includes an order for correction from the Commissioner of the Department of Buildings, and is added to the Department’s Building Information System. In order for a new or amended Certificate of Occupancy to be obtained, the DOB violation must be corrected.
- Delinquent Water and Sewer Rent: If the water balance goes unpaid, the city will consider it a lien against the property. New York State General Municipal Law allows for municipalities to impose a sewer rent fee on real property. Sewer rents constitute a lien on the date payable, upon the real property served by the sewer system or such part or parts thereof for which sewer rents have been established and imposed, and such lien shall continue thereon until paid or satisfied. The lien shall be prior and superior to every other lien or claim except the lien of an existing tax, assessment or other lawful charge imposed by or for the Village.
As you can see, there is a lot to consider when making investments in New York. ProTitleUSA recognizes the importance of each and every one of the above topics (in addition to all of the basics, of course), which is why we’ve developed extra services such as the Water/Sewer Search and Foreclosure SOL Review and Risk Assessment. Order a New York title search from us to uncover all aspects that could hinder an investor’s decision.
How to Get a Title Search in New York
Title searches in New York can be ordered one of three ways:
- Online at www.protitleusa.com
- By phone at (888) 878-8081
- By email at firstname.lastname@example.org
New York Counties Served
Albany, Allegany, Bronx, Broome, Cattaraugus, Cayuga, Chautauqua, Chemung, Chenango, Clinton, Columbia, Cortland, Delaware, Dutchess, Erie, Essex, Franklin, Fulton, Genesee, Greene , Hamilton, Herkimer, Jefferson, Kings, Lewis, Livingston, Madison, Monroe, Montgomery, Nassau, New York, Niagara, Oneida, Onondaga, Ontario, Orange, Orleans, Oswego, Otsego, Putnam, Queens, Rensselaer, Richmond, Rockland, Saratoga, Schenectady, Schoharie, Schuyler, Seneca, St. Lawrence, Steuben, Suffolk, Sullivan, Tioga, Tompkins, Ulster, Warren, Washington, Wayne, Westchester, Wyoming and Yates.
Frequently Asked Questions
From Customers in New York
Is title insurance required in New York?
Is it difficult to perform title searches on New York properties?
“I got my report at the 72 hour mark. It was the fastest and easiest task I've had to do to sell my house.” –BP
“I needed a title report for a sheriff's sale the following day. I paid for the 4-hour expedited report, and got it back in less than half-an-hour. I was amazed.” –BV
“They are great. Was able to get next day turn-around time on my order. Thanks.” –KH