In real estate law, a lien is defined as a type of claim regarding the property owned by a debtor. Usually, the debtor needs to pay back their lender using cash or other finances. If they can’t do this, the lender may be able to obtain a lien on their property. This means that they can take possession and title of the property, and use it as payment for the outstanding debt.

What Are Equitable Liens?

Equitable liens are a very specific type of lien. These are liens that are imposed by the court in order to maintain a certain degree of fairness or "equity" in the situation surrounding the property. They usually arise when one person holds possession of property for another person. These situations can often be quite complex, and may involve multiple parties and state laws.

When Are Equitable Liens Ordered?

For instance, an equitable lien can arise where one already has a lien, but then does not pay out on it when required to do so. Here, the court might order an equitable lien in order to ensure that the previous lien gets paid out. As you can see, these involve highly technical terms and conditions that do not arise very frequently.

In the event that there is a dispute over a lien or over an equitable lien, the court may need to intervene in order to help the parties reach a conclusion on the matter. Here, the court may review various items of evidence, such as records of transfer or other previous transactions involving the property. They may also review the original lending agreement between the parties.

How Can Equitable Liens Be Released or Removed?

Equitable liens get released only if the court gives a court order allowing the equitable lien released or removed. The court can also give the wrongdoer other alternatives to have the equitable lien released. For example, the wrongdoer may have to pay the victim a specified amount of money to have the equitable lien released.

Do I Need a Lawyer for Help with Real Estate Issues?

Real estate and property issues can become very complex, especially when they involve debts and other legal topics. You may wish to hire a foreclosure lawyer if you need any help or clarification regarding a subject such as liens or equitable liens. Your attorney can provide you with advice on the matters, and can also assist you in filing a claim if needed.