WHY USE A TITLE SEARCH FORM?
We believe there is a great deal of useful information provided on the DNS Title Search form to assist you in properly completing your real estate transactions. It is intended to protect the buyer by informing them of pending code violations and special charges, make them aware of any DNS programs that may govern the property, and any obligations they may have to register the property with DNS once they have acquired the property. We strongly urge you to use the DNS Title Search process for all real estate transactions occurring in the City of Milwaukee.
The intent of this memo is to provide further information and/or clarification related to certain items included on the Title Search Form (attached). Due to the space constraints on the form, we are not able to provide the level of detail we would like to about some of the items. Please be aware that brochures and detailed information about most DNS programs can be found on our website at www.milwaukee.gov/dns.
Property owners who have not recorded their property with DNS are required to do so prior to sale. There are some exemptions, but generally all properties except owner-occupied 1 family, 2 family and condo units are required to be recorded. For more information go to www.city.milwaukee.gov/propertyrecording or call 414-286-8569.
CODE COMPLIANCE PROGRAM
The Code Compliance program requires certain properties to have an exterior inspection at the time of sale. The purpose of the program is to preserve and improve housing stock by ensuring that residential buildings are compliant with minimum exterior codes. There are 4 choices to indicate whether or not a Code Compliance application will be required at closing. One of these 4 choices will be checked on every title search form we complete. Please pay careful attention to the checked item and follow the instructions. The most common problem that we see is failure to submit the application along with the payment. For more information go to www.milwaukee.gov/dns/codecompliance or call 414-286-3838.
FIRE PREVENTION PERMITS (FPP)
A Fire Prevention Permit is required to occupy certain buildings that have a higher degree of fire risk due to the type of activity or the type of material being utilized in the building. The process begins with an FPP application. DNS will conduct an inspection, during which the inspector will verify the information on the application and determine whether or not the appropriate measures are in place for the level of hazard present. Once approved by the inspector the owner will be notified in writing of the required fee. For more information go to www.milwaukee.gov/dns/firepreventionpermit or call 414-286-3874.
VACANT BUILDING REGISTRATION PROGRAM (VBR)
The Vacant Building Registration program requires owner(s) of residential and commercial property left vacant for 30 days or more to register the property with DNS and take steps to assure the property is secure, properly maintained and does not create a hazard for the surrounding community. If this item is checked, it indicates the property is currently in the VBR program. The new owner must register the vacant building within 30 days of acquiring the property. (See attached registration form.) There is no fee to file the registration. After DNS receives the registration form we will schedule an inspection appointment and notify the new owner in writing of the date and time. Inspection fees do apply at the time of registration/renewal.
Please note: If the property being sold or transferred is currently vacant and enrolled in the City’s VBR program, the new owner will be responsible for updating the vacant building registration to reflect the new ownership. An existing vacant building registration runs continuously and is not interrupted by sale or transfer of the property. The new property owner will be responsible for the ongoing vacant building registration and fee. Each vacant building registration is valid for a six month period and must be renewed if the building continues to remain vacant. Depending on the building’s current renewal timeline, the new owner will be responsible for renewing the registration and paying the renewal fee. The fee for subsequent renewal of a vacant building registration is $250. Buildings with open building code violation orders are subject to an enhanced registration fee of $500, $750 or $1,000, depending on how long the building code orders have been outstanding.
For more information, see the attached list of Frequently Asked Questions, which is also available on our website at www.city.milwaukee.gov/dns/vbr or call 414-286-8824.
RESIDENTIAL RENTAL INSPECTION PROGRAM (RRI)
The RRI program applies to rental properties in 2 target areas of the city, one on the east side and one in the Lindsey Heights neighborhood. If this item is checked, it means the property is located in one of those 2 areas and the requirements of the program will apply to the buyer if they will use the property as a rental. The new owner must submit an RRI application within 30 days of sale or conveyance. DNS will schedule an inspection appointment and notify the owner in writing of the date and time. If no violations are found the owner will be receive a certificate allowing them to rent to tenants. If violations are found the owner must correct the violations before receiving their certificate. There is a fee of $85 per unit for the inspection. For more information, see the attached list of Frequently Asked Questions, which is also available on our website at www.city.milwaukee.gov/dns/rri or call 414-286-8824.
CODE VIOLATIONS/WORK ORDERS
If the Title Search indicates that there are open work orders, please be aware that you can view the detailed list of violations on our website at www.city.milwaukee.gov/dns. If you have further questions, you are encouraged to call the phone number provided. The new owner will be responsible for any unabated code violations.
Go to the Title Search Form located in DNS Forms.