A county in Ohio – Lorain County – is home to a recorder with a really novel ideal. With the intent to prevent real estate fraud, Recorder Judy Nedwick has launched a notification system to alert property owners whenever a document is filed against their property. The alerts will be sent by email or text message.
The Recorder is using a system created by a third party, but remarked in a news article about the program that the system was attractive to her because her office had just experienced a “fraudulent mechanics lien.” A lien was placed on a home in Elyria, Ohio, by someone who was in prison! The homeowners didn’t find out about the lien until later.
If the notification system were in place, the homeowners would have gotten the notice immediately.
While the notification system doesn’t directly relate to contractors, subcontractors, design professionals or materialmen who file construction liens…it does have an indirect relation. The way I see it, such a notification system could have two primary effects: (1) It could eliminate the need for lien claimant’s to send post-lien notices to property owners; and (2) It would get the owner involved with the dispute more quickly.
This is one small county trying out this service, and notifications are only being sent to those who sign up for the service. As a result, it’s a very, very limited group of people affected by the system. It is, however, an interesting use of technology, and may one day have an impact on those folks filing lien claims.