Changes in FR/BAR Lien Search

In April of 2017, the FR/BAR 2017 real estate contract was revised to include clarity to the contractual term, municipal lien search. Paragraph 9(c) of the new contract defines a Municipal Lien Search as “a search of records necessary for the owner’s policy of title insurance to be issued without exception for unrecorded liens imposed pursuant to Chapters 159 or 170, F.S. in favor of any governmental body, authority, or agency.”

Additionally, the new contact provides municipal lien search parameters, which include:

  • Unpaid municipal or county service charges for assessments for water, sewer, gas, discovering municipal special assessments recorded in an Improvements Lien Book but not recorded in county public records.
  • Municipal Lien Search is due at the same time as title evidence.

Furthermore, several changes were made regarding the seller’s obligations in reference to permit or building code issues. The FR/BAR Lien Search 2017 real estate contract now reads:

If conducted, a municipal lien search may include uncovering municipal and county ordinance violations which upon further action could result in liens on real property, reviewing whether there are unpaid municipal or county service charges for assessments for water, sewer, waste, gas, electric fees and discovering municipal special assessment liens recorded in an Improvement Lien book but not recorded in county public records. These are all matters provided for in Chapter 159 and Chapter 170 Florida Statutes.

This term does not include building permit searches, which reveal open, expired permits or unpermitted structures, as these are not matters that impact title. Instead, in locales where building permits searches are performed, the contract contemplates that they be conducted within the Inspection Period, and not by Title Evidence Deadline, which typically occurs later in the process.

There are two key points to mention regarding the new municipal lien search parameters:

First, the definition DOES NOT include building permit searches, which reveal open or expired permits, as these do NOT have an effect on title.

And, second, permit searches by the BUYER must be conducted within the INSPECTION PERIOD, and not by the Title Evidence Deadline. Paragraph 12 (d) (i) of the contract states, “Buyer may have an inspection and examination of records and documents made to determine whether there exist any open or expired building permits… Buyer shall WITHIN THE INSPECTION PERIOD, deliver written notice to Seller of the existence of any open or expired building permits.

Resolution of the discovered permits then is determined by the type of contract Repair/Limitation versus As Is.”

About Florida Municipal Lien Search (FMLS)

Florida Municipal Lien Search, LLC is a privately owned and operated company providing title agents, attorneys, and realtors with unrecorded and municipal lien searches for all of the cities and counties in the State of Florida. Florida Municipal Lien Search conducts searches for municipal and county liens, unrecorded utility services, code enforcement violations, code enforcement liens, property taxes and special assessments. Founded on the principals of honesty and integrity, FMLS strives to make each and every client a long term, ongoing relationship. For more information, visit or call 321-325-6255.