Monday, September 21, 2009

Tips to Get Access to Public Records

The occasion may arise where you find yourself in need of access to public records of one type or another. Fortunately in the internet age it has become more and more easy to access these records, often with only a very small time investment. The first thing you need to do is determine the type of record you wish to access, and find out where that type of record may be stored. If you are searching, for example, for records of building permits issued, you’ll want to start with the agency that would have issued the permits. If you are looking within city limits, those records would most likely be at the local city hall; if the permit is for construction outside of any city limits it should reside at county level, most likely with the office of the County Recorder or County Clerk.

If you have any question about what agency to contact, starting with a basic internet search for the specific type of record and the location with your favorite search engine will usually lead you where you need to go. For example, searching on “property deed” won’t help much, but searching “property deed filing Los Angeles” will take you right to the doorstep. When searching for public records, your local county recorder or clerk’s office is an excellent place to start. While neither of these offices will maintain all possible records you might need, their personnel are almost always helpful, and can be of great assistance in determining where the records you seek would be located. They need to know where to find records for their own use, so they’ll know how to help you find what you need.

Should you need public records from the federal government, don’t hesitate to contact the office of your Congressman. Their Congressional office includes staff members whose entire job is to provide help to constituents in navigating the federal bureaucracy, and they’re glad to help you out. You’ve already paid them to help you through your taxes, so feel free to ask for their assistance any time. They can provide assistance in acquiring tax records, or texts of both pending and existing legislation. If you don’t know how to contact your congressman, once again a quick internet search will give you an address and phone number.

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