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Hall of Claims - January 2016

Posted by Madeline Fortino

1/25/16 5:04 PM

Hall of Claims January 2016

Our first monthly review where we recognize amazing customer service and diligence from the greatest in recording, statute, and lien best practices...along with the lackluster. Take a look at who wins gold, and who needs a little practice.

This month we have a tale of two counties. County recorders have a good deal of power over recorded documents, such as mechanics liens. This can leave a lot of room for excellence in customer service, but also room for blunder. Here, we'll take a look at the best: a county recorder who has simplified their state's complicated lien law by introducing e-recording. We'll also reveal the worst: a county recorder who has made a straightforward recording process a headache to deal with.

the best: Richland County, SC

South Carolina has some of the most complicated lien procedures, including personal service and a potential second filing: the affidavit of service. This second filing generally proves that personal service was either completed or attempted, but having multiple filings for one lien can often make recording hectic and scattered. Several South Carolina counties are now switching to e-recording, ensuring time-sensitive documents will be updated in real time. E-recording gives the recorder and the claimant (or preparer) a more convenient platform to communicate through:  recorded documents are available much quicker, and any possible issues can be dealt with in real time, rather than waiting for that fateful rejection letter in the mail. 

Richland County has proven extremely efficient at e-recording both liens and affidavits of delivery, with a usual turnaround time of merely minutes. Their current listed maximum turnaround time is only 3 business hours, making this one of the swiftest South Carolina recorders! With time-sensitive documents on the line, every minute can count, so we applaud Richland County for their excellence and speedy recording!

The worst: Nassau County, Ny

In December, Nassau County in New York raised their fees, making mechanics liens around $315 to file. This gives Nassau County possibly the highest recording fee for a standard mechanics lien in the nation! While the fees may be steep, the recording experience with this county is still frustrating and lackluster. There is no online or phone support to find out if your document has been recorded or rejected. Clerks for this county have recommended checking with your bank to see if your check has been used as one of the quickest ways of figuring out if your document has been successfully recorded. This wouldn’t work at all if you were using an alternate form of payment, such as a money order. Plus, this type of practice is well behind the times when some some of the smallest counties in the country have record searches online, or at the very least offer phone support.

Another drawback with Nassau county is identifying the instrument number of your document. Copies sent back to you will not have the instrument number labeled on them, or come with a cover sheet providing that vital information, like many other counties include. Instead, both the instrument number and the reference ID are listed only on the tiny receipt the county sends back. If you keep your liens on file, it is necessary to keep that receipt with your records, or at least transfer the numbers onto the lien. If you happen to discard your receipt, there is no online or phone support to find that information in the future. The only way to retrieve the info is to send the county a request (and copy fee) for them to mail a copy of the receipt back to you. For north of $315 to file a lien, Nassau county does not intend to make recording easy.

But It's not Always about winning...

As Winston Churchill said, "It is no use saying, 'We are doing our best.' You have got to succeed in doing what is necessary." Thanks to all of the counties who do what is necessary all year long and record documents - the construction payment industry would be less fair without you!

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Topics: county recorders