Tuesday, June 14, 2016

DeKalb provides deed alert system

The DeKalb County superior court clerk’s real estate office records all deeds in the county. According to the real estate division’s website, they receive and process over 120,000 documents a year. Given that volume, it is understandable that sometimes the right information may not be recorded, either due to an honest mistake by the person or entity filing the document or the person processing it, or due to something more sinister.

In 2014, the superior court clerk Debra DeBerry launched a property fraud registry alert system. The clerk’s office says, “The system is designed to provide property owners with the ability to register properties and receive notice anytime something is recorded on their property.” WSB-TV reported that it was the first real estate fraud alert system in the state. WSB also reported that DeKalb County has been “at the center” of house stealing schemes in Georgia.

Late last year, The Wall Street Journal reported that deed fraud is on the rise. They reported that “Investors who own several properties are especially vulnerable, prosecutors said, as they are less likely to notice if someone moves into a home they don’t visit regularly.” A booming real estate market can also tempt fraudsters.

DeKalb’s fraud registry seems like a good system for making property owners aware of documents filed involving their property. In my role with property taxes, I have observed several instances where it would have been helpful to receive an alert about a filing on particular properties.

You can sign up for the registry here.

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