Q May the chancery clerk perform the work required to ascertain the owner of property with an expiring redemption period before the 180 day time period in Section 27-43-1 begins? If so, may the chancery clerk charge the $50 fee authorized in Section 27-43-3 prior to the beginning of the 180 day time period in Section 27-43-1?

A The clerk’s right to charge the $50 fee accrues upon redemption. The statute does not state when the clerk must perform the necessary work to ascertain the record property owner. It is our opinion that a clerk may perform work to ascertain who is or will be the record owner as of the 180 day period prior to the actual commencement of such period. In addition, it is our opinion that the clerk is entitled to the fee whenever the land is redeemed, whether before or after the beginning of the 180 day period. Of course, the clerk or his deputy must actually perform the task of examining the records to ascertain the record property owner, in order to earn the fee. (Attorney General’s opinion to Pickering, dated July 20, 2012)