Category Archives: Lien Laws

Premier Lien Research Rolls Out New Services!

This month, Premier Lien Research, LLC began offering new services in addition to the services that serve as its foundation- Municipal Lien Searches and Estoppel Information Research. Now, PLR proudly adds Judgment Lien Search & Construction Lien Services as well as Mobile Notary Services to its lineup of demanded services.

About Judgment Liens
A Florida judgment (or Florida domesticated judgment) can operate as a lien on non-exempt FL real estate owned by a judgment debtor. According to Fla. Stat. § 55.10, a judgment becomes a lien on real property in any county when a certified copy of it is recorded in the official records or judgment lien record of that county and operates as a lien for an initial period of 10 years from the date of the recording; and the judgment creditor may extend the 10 year period by complying with Fla. Stat. § 55.10(2).

Florida Judgment Search includes*:

  • Search of up to two (2) search terms/names,
  • Search of one (1) Florida county Official Records for judgment liens and satisfactions of lien,
  • Search of one (1) Florida county Official Records for construction liens/claims of lien** and satisfactions of lien,
  • Search of one (1) Florida county Clerk of Court Civil Records (hard costs may apply depending on the county searched),
  • Search of Florida Dept. of Corporations Judgment Lien List

**Construction Lien Services

In the event that a recorded construction claim of lien is found with no corresponding satisfaction of lien, we encourage our clients to seek legal counsel to assess the validity of said claim of lien pursuant to Fla. Stat. 713. If a valid claim of lien exists, we are happy to work towards concluding the matter. Our construction lien services include:

  • Contacting the purported lienor with a Demand For Sworn Statement of Account;
  • If payoff is made by debtor, obtaining a release of lien and properly recording it;
  • If the claim of lien is contested, we will file and serve a Notice of Contest of Lien, which then forces the purported lienor to file his lawsuit within 60 days, instead of the statutory 1 year period;
  • If requested, refer you to legal counsel specializing in lien litigation to handle your specific matter.

For more information about PLR’s Judgment Lien Search & Construction Lien Services, click here.

For more information about PLR’s Mobile Notary Services, click here.


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Video of Oral Arguments in City of Palm Bay v. Wells Fargo is Up!

On Wednesday, the Florida Supreme Court heard oral arguments in City of Palm Bay v. Wells Fargo. Read our earlier posts about it here and here. If you weren’t able to watch the live streaming feed, you can view the footage here or by going to this link.

Go ahead…you know you want to watch it!

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Filed under Code Violations, In the Courts, Lien Laws

Priority of City Code Liens Case To Be Heard By Florida Supreme Court Tomorrow

Several weeks ago, I wrote about the appeal presented to the Florida Supreme Court- City of Palm Bay v. Wells Fargo. This case tackles the question of whether liens assessed by municipalities can have “super-priority” over prior recorded mortgages.

Oral arguments are scheduled for tomorrow, Wednesday, April 11, 2012 at approx. 10:40 am, and should be broadcast live over the internet. If you’re interested in watching, log on to Gavel to Gavel.

Supreme Court of Florida

Supreme Court of Florida (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

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Filed under Code Violations, In the Courts, Lien Laws

Collecting Unpaid Assessments from the Association’s POV

This question comes from the Florida Condo & HOA Law Blog, published by Becker & Poliakoff, one of the most recognized condo & HOA association firms in Florida. A writer asked:

Question: We recently had a home sell in our community, which is governed by a homeowner’s association. However, the title company handling the closing only collected a portion of the amount we stated was due prior to closing. We were of the understanding that the title company would be required to collect all amounts at closing. Now, it appears that the new owner is trying to flip the property and leave the next owner holding the bag. We sent a demand letter to the new owner but must wait 45 days before filing a lien. Are we correct in believing that the title company should have collected all amounts we claimed in our estoppel, and if so, what recourse do we have? S.J. (via e-mail)

To summarize the question, the association wants to know which party is responsible for paying unpaid assessments- the old home owner, the new owner, or the title company?

As Joseph E. Adams explains in the article, the title company cannot be held responsible to the association because there is no privity of contract between the two parties. In other words, since the association and the title company did not have a contractual agreement of any sort, the title company cannot be held liable to the association.

We know that Florida Statutes provides in the Florida Homeowners’ Association Act that a current owner is responsible for all unpaid assessments on the property left by the previous owner. It would truly be a nightmare situation to purchase a property that had thousands of dollars in unpaid assessments on it and not have previously know about that liability. The liability is only capped by the Act if the new owner acquired title via foreclosure or by taking a deed in lieu of foreclosure and is a first mortagagee.

An association’s governing documents may alter the liability limits for a prior owner’s assessments when a new owner acquires title through foreclosure. They may also allow an association to pursue the old owner and/or the new owner for unpaid assessments, including filing a lawsuit for money damages against the old owner or recording a lien against the property (held by the new owner) and foreclosing the lien if it remains unpaid.

A new property owner can avoid being left holding the bag by making sure a lien search is conducted and estoppel information is obtained prior to taking title to the property in an association. This is equally applicable to those who take title through a foreclosure sale because, although their liability may be capped under the Act, there still will be liability.

Only by getting estoppel information from the applicable associations (there may be more than one!) will a purchaser know what unpaid assessments she would be liable for. How does one go about obtaining this estoppel information? By using a trusted, professional company that specializes in navigating the complexities of association ownership. One such company that does that and is relied upon by some of the largest title companies in the Florida is Premier Lien Research, LLC.

To read Joseph E. Adam’s full article, click here.

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Filed under Associations, Buyers, Foreclosures, Investors, Legislation, Lien Laws, Nightmare situations

Florida Supreme Court considers whether cities’ liens are superior to prior recorded mortgages.

Most Florida cities have ordinances that give them powers to assess liens on property for utility balances, code violations, etc. Often included in these ordinances is language giving the liens superiority over other liens, titles or claims against the property and giving the cities foreclosure power. English: Florida Supreme Court Building

The problem with these ordinances is that they may (or may not) directly conflict with Florida’s Recording Act (695.11 F.S.). The Recording Act determines the “priority” of interest in real property based on notice of competing interests. City ordinances that give their liens super-priority (regardless of notice) ignore 695.11. At least that is what is being argued by respondent, Wells Fargo, and the Florida Land Title Assn (FLTA) in its amicus brief before the Florida Supreme Court in Wells Fargo Bank, N.A. v. City of Palm Bay.

The certified question for the state’s highest court to answer is:

Whether, under Article VIII, Section 2(b), Florida Constitution, section 166.021, Florida Statutes and Chapter 162, Florida Statutes, a municipality has the authority to enact an ordinance stating that its code enforcement liens, created pursuant to a code enforcement board order and recorded in the public records of the applicable county, shall be superior in dignity to prior recorded mortgages?

The Court will hear oral argument at 9:00 a.m., Wednesday, April 11, 2012. Read City of Palm Bay’s brief here. Read Wells Fargo’s brief here. Read FLTA’s Amicus brief here.


Filed under In the Courts, Lien Laws