What is ACRIS and How to Use It

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If you are engaging in any property transaction within the five boroughs, the Automated City Register Information System (ACRIS) is one of the most beneficial tools to your real-estate conveyance. The system is intended to provide notice to property owners of any deeds, mortgages, or other related documents that have been recorded against a single property. Navigating the site does not require any registration, and is completely free. Prior to the implementation of the system, if a resident wanted to access the information, they would have to waste a day waiting on the long line at the County Clerk’s office.

In searching for a document within the ACRIS system, it is important to note that the database only includes recorded documents. Therefore, any recent conveyances will not be reported until the title company records the document with the County Clerk’s office. Furthermore, the database only applies to documents dating back to 1966, so if you are looking for an older document, you will still need to make that dreaded trip to the County Clerk’s office.

The database can be found here. Once on the page, you will be able to search records for an individual or a specific property. If a user is searching documents by a party’s name, they will be able to continue to “Search Property Records.” However, if a user is searching for documents tied to a specific property they will need the section, block, and lot of the property. If you are unsure of the section, block and lot, of the property then they you need to click on the “Find Addresses and Parcels” link on the main page. Once there, you will be able to enter the street address for the property and the database will provide you with the section block and lot.

Once you have the section, block and lot you are ready to proceed back to the main page and click on the link “Search Property Records.” Once on the page, you will select “Parcel Identifier.” After entering the section, block, and lot of the property, you will see a list of the various transactions related to the property. There will be selections next to the transactions for “DET” or “IMG.” “DET” will provide you with a summary of the document. “IMG” will provide you an image of the document and even allow you to print a copy for yourself.

While it should not be used to replace a full title report, an ACRIS search can be useful at the early stages of a transaction.

The law office of Georgaklis & Mallas PLLC is experienced in various areas of real estate-related transactions. The firm’s skilled attorneys handle both commercial and residential transactions on behalf of lending institutions, real estate investment and management companies, business and individual clients. Call (718) 238-2400 or (212) 779-2400 for more information.  

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