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Record Retention

Posted by Jayson on July 21, 2011 at 2:22 PM

In Reply to: Re: County Records posted by Kristine-CA on July 20, 2011 at 8:52 PM

Kristine for purposes of this thread by record retention I was referring prior to the advanced computer age say the last 15 years or so. Large population counties like Kern have larger budgets and most everything will be available on online. At counties < 60,000 Iíve seen limited availability of documents online and the farther down you go the more problems encountered with online availability and glitches with computer software the county bought. Some counties the documents are free, while other counties use a third party vendor to charge.

I suspect that most cities/counties may be guided more by practicality, need, and expense than hard written retention limits. Sure there may be guide lines suggested by the state or specific national associations, but are they universally adopted or enforced? A national off-site storage company is an option, but it could be expensive, create retrieval time delays deemed unacceptable, and ďoccasionalĒ lost (excuse me misplaced) files. May create more problems than its solves. Some off-site storage companies have it down to a science, while for others it remains a work in progress.

Public Works Departments may have little choice but to retain street and public utility engineering plans for eternity, unless they can digitally reproduce the originals in high quality format. I canít envision cities/counties retaining architectural & engineering plans long term for private projects requiring approvals, as even with small projects the plans can be hellacious. As a practical matter the statute of limitations on lawsuits may come into play here.

For 99% of flippers if you canít locate it at the Recorderís or Assessorís Offices it may be helpful but probably not necessary. Most wouldnít know what to do with the info even if they had it. For developers/engineers/architects et al different story. As with anything else with years of experience you learn what small details to sweat and which to ignore.


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