Florida Title Pros of Brandon and Docu-File Title and Escrow of Tulsa: August 2014 Update
I guess we are not done with our complaint about problems and mistakes committed by Florida Title Pros and Docu File. Florida Title Pros negligence on the closing at 114 McNeela Drive has just cost us another $133.41.
We just received a utility bill from the City of Titusville for this property at 114 McNeela Drive. The bill, in the amount of $133.41, is for utility services rendered to the previous owner in 2012, before we purchased the condo.
Florida Statute gives local governments the right to lien property for unpaid utility bills. It does not appear to matter if those bills were accrued years ago, by another owner. The current owner is unfairly made responsible for paying them. Arguably, this is a stupid law that legalizes government theft, and needs to be changed so as not to burden innocent property owners with the debts of others. But, that is a matter for some other time and someone else’s blog.
Note, had these past charges been to a tenant’s account, and not an owner’s account (owned versus rented properties are treated differently in Florida Statute), then we would not have been responsible for the charges.
Florida Title Pros of Brandon and Docu File of Tulsa were once again negligent or careless in the performance of their assigned and contracted duties. The title company, as a matter of ordinary care and procedure, is expected to contact the local government through submission of an estoppel request or letter. Local governments expect and readily handle such requests for information.
The letter, that the title company apparently did not bother to produce, asks Titusville, are there any unrecorded liens (water, sewer, trash, code enforcement violations) on the property being transferred? Local governments routinely receive and respond to these requests, but only from title agencies. It is my experience that a consumer is unable to get this information themselves, due to privacy policies prohibiting people like us from getting the information.
So, even though this transfer happened about 2 1/2 years ago, this is a “gift that keeps on giving”. We really have no choice but to pay the City of Titusville’s demand for $133.41. This utility charge should have been determined, and then collected from the previous owner, by Florida Title Pros as part of its diligence, as assigned and accepted when it took on the closing, the purchase and sales agreement, issuance of title insurance and payment of escrow fee for 114 McNeela Drive. Florida Title Pros of Brandon is liable for its non-performance. The firm could be sued for this failure, but clearly, in this country’s flawed and consumer-unfriendly legal system, people like us cannot afford to pay $10,000 to an attorney to navigate the system, to get us a paltry $133.41 judgment.
So, we’ll just have to pay this, and enjoy the reminder of what a lousy job Florida Title Pros did for us as their “valued customer”.