New service offers Salt Lake County homeowners free notification of any property filing

(Leah Hogsten | Tribune file photo) Salt Lake County Recorder Rashelle Hobbs has launched a new service that allows property owners to sign up for free automatic notification anytime a filing is made, from liens to notice of a mortgage being paid off.

The days of taking a trip to the Salt Lake County Recorder’s Office for your property record or requesting this information by mail — for a small fee — are over. The County Recorder’s Office now has a free service called Property Watch that notifies you when something is recorded on your property.

“This is to keep Salt Lake County property owners informed and notified about what I would say is probably the biggest purchase anyone’s ever going to make and that is your home,” Salt Lake County Recorder Rashelle Hobbs said in an interview. “This is a great resource that will help prevent title fraud while protecting your property record.”

The service lets Salt Lake County property owners view any recorded changes to their property as of April 1, including documents like liens, deeds, and reconveyance deeds as soon as they are processed. Since property watch was launched on Wednesday, almost 3,500 people have signed up for the service.

It’s value was demonstrated right away. A subscriber contacted the County Recorder’s Office on Wednesday, saying the property owner discovered through the service that there was a lien on the home. She said this is something property owners usually don’t find out until they close on their home.

“I believe the more informed you are about your property record, the better place that you’re in,” Hobbs said. “You don’t want any surprises. Certainly when you’re going to sell your home, that’s not the time that you want to find out about a lien on your property.”

The service also tells you if your home has been paid off. “I believe the power of property watch is the notification and keeping the property owner informed,” said Hobbs.

She said the service was inspired by a need for increased openness and transparency. Recently the Salt County Recorder’s Office visited all 16 senior centers in Salt Lake County, and gave seniors free information about their properties. Hobbs said seniors expressed a need for accurate, timely, complete reports about their property, but couldn’t get them unless they came in and requested that information.

When Hobbs visited the Kearns senior center, she was joined by Sen. Karen Mayne, D-West Valley City, whose constituents at the center wanted more information about their property.

Mayne encouraged Hobbs to find some way of keeping property owners better informed, saying constituents would call her and ask why nothing was sent to them when they finished paying off their house.

She was especially interested in the issue because her district, in West Valley City and Kearns, has the highest rate of home ownership in the state of Utah.

Mayne also brought her concerns to Hobbs when she received a letter saying a third party could provide a copy of her property records for $95 along with a monthly monitoring fee, when the County Recorder’s Office could do this for $5. She said her Senate district is using property watch and she’s glad the Recorder’s Office implemented it.

“It’s easy accessibility for the citizens and on the other side it’s … so they won’t get duped into something they don’t need to pay for,” Mayne said in an interview.

In February, at least 40 property owners experienced the same situation as Mayne, and visited the Salt Lake County Recorder’s Office to pay a $95 fee to obtain a “property assessment profile” that a California firm was recommending.

When Mayne, who has worked on similar legislation, brought the issue to Hobbs they partnered to create property watch, which now provides the service for free.

“Knowledge is power and I think that homeownership is the American dream and is very likely the largest purchase you’ll ever make,” said Hobbs. "I believe that you should have a complete, accurate, timely report of your property, and any recording that happens on your property.”

To take advantage of this service, visit the Salt Lake County Recorder’s Office website here and enter your name, email, and property address and a parcel number will populate.

Once you subscribe, you will receive a confirmation email and from then on you will be notified whenever something is recorded on your property.

If you need help or have any questions, you can email PropertyWatch@slco.org or call 385-468-8176 for live support.