Municipal Lien Searches- What They Are and Why You Need One

Municipal Lien Searches- What They Are and Why You Need One

Updated: Jan 15

At CLOSED we recommend ordering a municipal lien search for every purchase transaction. Read more to learn why.



A municipal lien search allows you to find unrecorded liens, code violations, outstanding property tax bills, special assessments, open or expired permits as well as outstanding utility bills to the property that are associated with a specific property. 


If you or your client is considering buying a property in Florida, especially a short sale or a foreclosure, a municipal lien search is crucial to acquiring the property free and clear of any existing liens on the property. Unlike in most states, Florida municipalities attach many unrecorded liens, code violations, special assessments, open or expired permits as well as outstanding utility bills to the property itself, not to the owner or other associated individuals. Therefore, most Florida real estate transactions require a municipal lien search as part of the closing process to ensure that no liens or encumbrances are attached to the property. This is a critical part of the process, as there are often unknown or undisclosed fees, costs or other issues that impact a buyer once they own the property. Failure to discover these issues before closing means that the buyer would be responsible for outstanding bills or bringing a property into compliance with municipal regulations. 

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