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What Is ACRIS?

ACRIS stands for Automated City Register Information System (ACRIS). It’s primarily a database of the property records (which are public) for all commercial and residential properties in NYC’s four boroughs: the Bronx, Brooklyn, Manhattan, and Queens. Staten Island is not part of ACRIS. But it allows you to do more than that. 

The records are available for as far back as 1966, but the database is not definitive and may be missing some documents that you can find in specific borough offices.

The ACRIS database can be used without any need for registration or verification of who you are. Buyers, brokers, real estate attorneys, and sellers can all use ACRIS to get information about properties in the four boroughs. 

What Can You Do With ACRIS?

You will find six options on the ACRIS main menu:

  1. Search Property Records: The primary function of the ACRIS database allows you to look for property records. You need to know at least one of the seven searchable things about the document or property you are searching for. These include Document Type, Party Name, Parcel Identifier, Document ID, Transaction Number, Reel & Page and UCC/Federal Lien Number.
  2. Find Addresses And Parcel: The parcel number is also called Borough-Block-Lot (BBL) number, which helps to identify the physical location of a specific parcel of land. Using this ACRIS function, you can find the BBL using the address of a building or address using the BBL/parcel number.
  3. Apply For Personal Exemptions: Clicking this option redirects you to the Benefits for Property Owners page to find out and apply for different exemptions you might be qualified for (for residential properties only).
  4. Create Tax Forms/Create Cover Pages: You have to create an online account to use this feature. It allows you to create a transfer tax form and a cover page. 
  5. Calculate Taxes/Fees: It allows you to calculate: Real property transfer tax, real estate transfer tax, mortgage recording tax, and fees. 
  6. Electronic Data Services: You need an account to access this ACRIS functionality. It allows you to submit UCC (Uniform Commercial Code) filings online.

How Buyers, Brokers, And Attorneys Use ACRIS

ACRIS is used by buyers, brokers, attorneys, and property owners to find the information contained in property documents like deeds, mortgage assignment, the satisfaction of mortgage, agreement, UCC 3 assignments/termination, etc. The database also provides information about when these documents were recorded or filed so you can trace the building’s filing history with the city. 

It also provides information about the parties involved, so if there is a lien on the building, you can find out who may have a legal claim on the building. This is useful for attorneys when conducting title research on a building.

Brokers and buyers can use the ACRIS database to search for the most recent sales price and use this information for comparisons and pricing estimates. Too high or too low a price compared to comparable properties can be a dangerous sign. 

Using ACRIS is quite simple. As long as you have an address to start with, you can still find out its BBL numbers from the site.