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What Is a Lien?

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What Is a Lien?

A lien is a form of security interest that is placed on an item of property. This is done to secure a debt or a loan, such as a home loan or a car loan. The item of property can either be real property (real estate lien) or personal property. With a lien, the lender may take the lien and sell it in situations where the borrower is unable to make the scheduled loan payments.

There are different types of liens. However, most liens arise through a contractual agreement between the borrower and the lender. In many cases, the lien aspect of the loan is built into the agreement itself. In some cases, lien interests may arise later as the parties encounter various issues that need resolving.

Is it Possible to Remove a Lien from Property?

Yes- there are various ways that a lien can be removed from the property. Generally speaking, the borrower themselves will agree to the lien, since it may be a condition for allowing them to obtain a loan. However, they can often have the lien removed if needed. Removing a lien can happen in many ways, including:

  • Satisfaction of debt (i.e., paying off the loan amounts in full)
  • Through a court order (usually due to some instance of fraud or misrepresentation in the original lien document)
  • Improper or illegal collection efforts
  • Various other mechanisms which may vary according to state law (for instance, selling the property in dispute to the lien holder will remove the lien)
  • Some types of liens cannot be removed as easily. An example of this is with a judicial lien, which is a lien that has been put into place and enacted through a court’s ruling.

What Is a Lien Waiver?

A lien waiver is a statement by the lender that they won’t impose or demand a lien on the property as a condition for the loan. This can help attract borrowers who may be discouraged from seeking loans on account of the idea of having a lien on their property. This may also be beneficial for the borrower, as they won’t put their own property at risk in the event of default. This may come with some tradeoffs, such as higher interest rate.

Related to this is a lien release, which serves to relieve the borrower of any existing lien arrangements after the loan has been issued.

Should I Hire a Lawyer for Help with Lien Issues?

Liens can sometimes be complex and may involve a variety of real estate, financing, and property issues. You may wish to hire a real estate lawyer if you need any assistance at all with a lien agreement. Your attorney can explain your rights to you and can also assist you with document review and negotiations. In the event that you are involved in a lawsuit or need to file for damages, your lawyer can represent you in court as well.

Photo of page author Jose Rivera

, LegalMatch Legal Writer

Last Modified: 07-05-2018 01:12 AM PDT

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