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Title Search 

Why Use a Title Search Form?

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.

This page provides further information and/or clarification related to certain items included on the Title Search Form that space prohibits listing on the application. You may need to contact one of these DNS programs after the sale to be in complaince of all City of Milwaukee ordinances.

  • Effective January 1, 2020:

Certain DNS base fees have increased. All base fees also include a Training & Technology surcharge at the rate of 1.6%. The new fee for the DNS Title Search is $50.80. The new form reflecting the 2020 fee is available below.

Property Registration

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 Property Registration or call (414) 286-8569.

Vacant Building Registration (VBR) Program

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 or call (414) 286-8824. 

Code Violations and 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 LMS Land Management System. If you have further questions, you are encouraged to call the phone number of the section that issued the order. The new owner will be responsible for any unabated code violations.

City of Milwaukee Department of Administration Director Sharon Robinson 

 Monday - Friday, 8:00 AM - 4:45 PM

 Zeidler Municipal Building, 841 N. Broadway, Room 104, Milwaukee, WI 53202




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