January 26, 2018 Emergency Repair & Green Homes Benefit Assessment Searches

Below are two additional Municipal Searches which should be considered when the circumstance warrant.

Emergency Repair Search

An Emergency Repair search is traditionally a search of municipal records which would show any repairs or services provided to said property of any emergency nature where the property owner was negligent in responding. This search has only been run traditionally in New York City.

We have been experiencing municipalities on Long Island assessing “Emergency Repair” liens against a premises, which liens would not typically be returned in a standard title search and therefore not covered under a title policy in New York. These liens typically have no expiration date. This assessment is usually for solid waste clean up of a distressed parcel and will be assessed in the real estate tax records and appear as a lien in the following year’s tax bill. These pending obligations since not entered in the land records are not covered by the standard title policy. Please consider ordering same when placing your title insurance applications.

Green Homes Assessment Search (Town of Babylon, Suffolk County Only)

This search is currently available only in the Town of Babylon. The search would determine if a Green Homes Assessment is currently filed against a specific parcel. The assessment is not filed in the public records and therefore would not be covered in the standard title policy in New York State.

The Long Island Green Homes Program is a self-financing residential retrofit program designed to support a goal of upgrading the energy efficient of existing homes in the Town of Babylon. The program is a “benefit assessment” program, which allows the town to make a specific improvement that serves a public purpose on a parcel of property, and assess the cost of the benefit against the property.

The main benefit of the program is that it allows homeowners to avoid the potentially large up-front costs associated with making energy efficiency improvements, and instead allowing them to pay for their cost over time through the money they save from reduced energy bills. The payment obligation is attached to the property itself rather than to the owner, so it remains with the home upon any changes in ownership. It is important to note that while the cost of the improvements is considered to be assessed against the property, this does not mean that the assessed value of the property used to compute property taxes is increased.

In order to participate in the program, residents must first fill out a form (The Self Check Home Inventory Form) providing certain information about their home and historic energy use. Program personnel will then schedule a Home Performance Evaluation to be conducted by a town-licensed, Building Performance Institute (BPI) accredited energy auditor. Based upon the results of the Home Performance Evaluation, the contractor will enter into a contract directly with the Town and will make the recommended energy-efficiency improvement chosen by the homeowner.

Possible improvements include but are not limited to efficient lighting, weather stripping, caulking, air and duct sealing, insulation, upgrading of heating units. The program pays the contractor for the cost of the improvements and arranges a monthly payment plan for the homeowners to repay these costs through a separate contract. The homeowner’s payment schedule is generally intended to result in annual payments that are less than the homeowner’s annual energy cost savings.

This program is funded by the town’s Solid Waste Fund. In order to accommodate the program, the town has expanded its definition of solid waste to include energy waste based on its carbon content.

Please contact us should you have any questions regarding this matter.