ACRIS: How to search NYC Property Records and Other Documents

The PropertyClub Team
Nov 4th 2019
This comprehensive guide will teach you how to use ACRIS NYC to search property records, deeds, and other documents. We’ll help you better understand what the Automated City Register Information System is as well as how to perform a search using main options.

What is ACRIS?

Property sales and records in every state and city across the United States, including New York City, are a matter of public record. This means that anyone can look up property records, including buyers, sellers, attorneys, brokers, or anyone else who just wants to find out information about a piece of property. In New York City, the City Register is responsible for maintaining and the official records of all real property documents.

These documents include but are not limited to deeds, mortgages, and satisfactions of mortgages, Uniform Commercial Code (UCC) financing statements, and Notices of Federal Tax Liens (FTL). In New York City, property records can be found on a website called ACRIS, which is short for the Automated City Register Information System.

You can search property records for a home and view documents for each borough except Staten Island (i.e., Manhattan, Queens, Bronx, and Brooklyn) from 1966 to the present on the ACRIS site. You can also find a Property Borough, Block and Lot (BBL) or Address, Create Cover Pages and Tax Forms to Record Documents, and compute NYC Property Transfer Taxes for closings on the ACRIS database. Please note that even though Staten Island appears as a search option, public documents for Staten Island are not recorded in the City Register's office but instead in the Richmond County Clerk's office. As such, the Staten Island selection is for internal City Register use only.

The following guide will show you how to search property records on the ACRIS website using the three most common search methods; a search by party name, by parcel number, and by document type.

You can start your search by going to the Acris website. When you are ready to search, you can select the link "begin using ACRIS," and it will take you to the document search function.

The Document Search function is where you can find documents that have been recorded and/or filed with the City Register.

When you select the Search Property Records option from the ACRIS Main Options screen, the Document Search Menu is displayed. From this menu, you can choose the primary search criteria. You can search for property records by using the following: Party Name, Parcel Identifier, Document Type, Document ID, Transaction Number, Reel and Page, and ICC/Federal Lien File Number.

How do you use ACRIS NYC?

You can use the NYC ACRIS system to look up property records and search for documents in various ways. The most common ways include searching ACRIS by party name, parcel identified, and document type. 

Conducting a Search by Party Name on ACRIS

The most common way to search for ACRIS documents is by a party's name.

A Party Name is the name of the person or persons involved in the real estate transaction. A Party Name can be a business entity such as an LLC, corporation, or partnership. The Party Names can be listed on the real estate documents in several different ways. (e.g., Grantor or Grantee, Mortgagor or Mortgagee, Lender or Borrower, Seller or Buyer, etc.) Please note: The Name Search will only show records for recorded/filed documents.

To Search by Party Name, use the following steps:

Step 1. you must enter the name before beginning your search. The individual's name should be entered into the Individual fields. You should enter the name in the following order: Last, First, MI (Middle Initial), and Suffix (e.g., Jr.).

Or, if the owner/party is a business, then the Business name should be entered into the Business field.

Tip: You may have to use various combinations to locate all the associated documents. This is because, in the past, individual names could have been entered as last name-first name or first name-last-name. As such, you should play with the combinations by putting the last name in the first name field and vice versa to ensure that you have located all associated documents.

If you don't enter the full name, the search results will return results that match the part of the name that you enter. For example, if you enter

Doe, J. All record that begins with Doe, J will be returned. (e.g., Does, Joan, Doesortt, John, etc.)

As such, to avoid too many results, it is crucial to narrow down your search as much as possible by entering the full first and last name and entering other search criteria as listed below.

Step 2: Select Date Range: To narrow down your search, you can also select a date range to retrieve documents that were recorded or filed within the requested date range. If you do not select a date range, the default value will be your selection. The dates must be entered in the following format: MM/DD/YYYY.

Step 3: Select Party Type: You can further narrow your search by selecting a Party Type. If you do not choose an option from the drop-down list, the default value will be used. You can only choose one option from the list.

You may choose to have the Name Search match on all party names or match on just one of the parties. If you decide to search all parties, your search will retrieve document records where any party is associated with the particular name that you have entered.

Step 4: Select Borough/County: You can narrow down your search further by selecting a borough/county. If you elect to choose a borough/county, only documents recorded or filed for properties in the requested Borough/County will be retrieved. You can only select one borough/county during your search. If you do not choose an option from the drop-down list, the default value will be used.

Step 5: Select Document Class: You can again narrow your search further by selecting a document class. Only documents recorded/filed for the selected document class will be chosen. A drop-down list is available on the Document Class field, which will assist the user in selecting a valid document class. If you do not choose an option from this drop-down box, the default value which appears in the window of the drop-down box will be your selection. You can only select one document class per search.

Search by Parcel Identifier

What is a BBL?

Borough, Block, and Lot ("BBL") is the parcel number system used to identify each unit of real estate in New York City. This number is used on various city documents as it relates to the property.

To search by BBL, perform the following steps.

Step 1: Select Borough/County/Block/Lot and Unit (Co-op only): You can search by selecting a borough/county. If you elect to choose a borough/county, only documents recorded or filed for properties in the requested Borough/County will be retrieved. You can only select one borough/county during your search. The Parcel Identifier Search will only retrieve records for recorded/filed documents.

The search results will be returned based on the following combination of information entered:

1. If a BBL (i.e., the block and lot number) is entered with no unit number, the search will return all records with the entered BBL.

2. If a BBL is entered with a unit number, the search will return all records that match the borough, block, lot, and unit number.

a. If no records match on all four search criteria, no results will be displayed.

3. If a BBL is entered with Lot #0000 and a unit number, no results will be displayed in the search.

4. If a BBL with Lot #0000 without entering a unit number, the search will return all records for the block number entered.

Step 2: Select Date Range: To narrow down your search, you can also select a date range to retrieve documents that were recorded or filed within the requested date range. If you do not select a date range, the default value will be your selection. The dates must be entered in the following format: MM/DD/YYYY.

Step 5: Select Document Class: You can again narrow your search further by selecting a document class. Only documents recorded/filed for the selected document class will be chosen. A drop-down list is available on the Document Class field, which will assist the user in selecting a valid document class. If you do not choose an option from this drop-down box, "All Document Classes," which appears in the window of the drop-down box, will automatically be selected. You can choose only one document class per search.

Search by Document Type

Step 1: Select a Document Type from the Select Document Type Selecting a Document Class will narrow the list of Document Types in the second drop-down menu to only contain Document Types appropriate to the selected Document Class.

Step 2: Select Date Range: To narrow down your search, you can also select a date range to retrieve documents that were recorded or filed within the requested date range. If you do not select a date range, the default value will be your selection. The dates must be entered in the following format: MM/DD/YYYY.

Step 3: Select Borough/County: You can narrow down your search further by selecting a borough/county. If you elect to choose a borough/county, only documents recorded or filed for properties in the requested Borough/County will be retrieved. You can only select one borough/county during your search. If you do not choose an option from the drop-down list, the default value will be used.

Search Results for Document Type

The top right-hand corner will display the search criteria you entered. The search results are listed in a table. If the list is too long for one screen, only the first ten rows will be shown on the first page. Assuming that the user wants to search beyond the first page, the user can expand the rows up to 99 results so that all the results are displayed on one page.