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Attentiveness to lien deadlines is crucial.  It is important to keep in mind that even if you prepare and send your documents well before the deadline, they could be sabotaged by a sluggish or backlogged recorder. County recorders are notorious for being slow.

Nagging and giving a slice of attitude to the county recorder may be a temporary relief, but at the end of the day, the county recorder is the one who files your lien. And if they are backlogged, then your lien may be in jeopardy.  As noted in a previous post, it makes good sense for a lien claimant to ask the county recorder if they are backlogged.  If the county is backlogged two weeks, then you need to keep that in mind when regarding your due date.  I would adjust my due date to the rate of the recorder.

Many county recorders are up to speed; they will record your lien the day it is delivered.  But there are a handful (or two) of county recorders who have trouble keeping up.  Do not place the eligibility of your lien in the hands of the county recorders.

“What do I do when the county recorder tells me they are backlogged?”

Scenario: You called Hamilton County, Ohio and they told you they are still recording documents from last month.  Meaning, even if you overnight your lien document, that does not mean it will be placed at the top of the pile.  You have to take manners into your own hands and hire a courier.  It is a lot easier than it sounds. Google “Hamilton County, Ohio couriers” and a list will appear on your results page.  Call the courier companies to find the best price and voila! All you need to do is send ground/overnight to the courier of your choice and they will walk your lien to the county recorder and not leave until it is stamped and recorded.

Here is a sampling of counties who notoriously pose a threat to due dates:

  • Hamilton County, Ohio
  • Oakland County, Michigan
  • Onondaga County, New York
  • Hennepin County, Minnesota
  • Hines County, Mississippi
  • Los Angeles County, California
  • Butte County, California
  • Ouachita County, Arkansas

While it’s always a good idea to check how behind a recorder is, you can pretty much rest assured that filing a lien in these counties will take a lot longer than you might anticipate.