Placing a Lien On Property That Isn’t Owned By The Debtor isn’t complicated. A landlord wants to place a lien on a property, but the property isn’t owned by the debtor yet. He will inherit it at some point in the future. What can the landlord do?
Can I place a lien on property in a debtor’s name?
Q: I have an interesting scenario that is a unlike any other that I can find described online. I have won a substantial judgment from a court case with our former tenant(s). The judgment has gone unpaid for several years – they have no intention of paying nor the ability to do so.
I keep tabs on them in various ways and I’ve come to learn that the parents of one of the debtors has put their home into a life estate via quit claim deed and the debtor (son) is one of the grantees, along with (presumably) his two siblings.
I want to know the following whether I can place a lien on that property now that it is seemingly in his name. Any advice you can offer is appreciated.
How liens and judgments works
A: You have an interesting situation. When you sue someone, go to court, and finally get a judgment against them, that judgment will live for quite some time until it expires or is paid off.
Let us explain. Judgment are in force for a certain period of time unless you take action to extend the term of the judgment. Frequently, judgment terms are for 7 years or more, depending on the laws of your state.
You can place a lien on a property owned by your debtor – if you have the right to do so
You’ve described a situation where the debtor may come to own property in the future but doesn’t actually own the property now. You can’t place a lien on property the debtor does not own.
You need to be aware that you can’t place liens on properties unless you know for sure that you know you have a right to do so. If you mistakenly place a lien on someone’s property, some jurisdictions can penalize you for taking that action. So, be careful.
Interestingly, Sam recently had a case where a landlord had failed to pay a tenant back his interest on an apartment lease. The tenant sued the landlord and won a judgment. The tenant placed the lien on the landlord’s building and eventually the landlord ended up paying off the lien when he sold the building. This is a situation where it was clear what the landlord owned and what the tenant lien.
Once you have a judgement in hand, you can assess how to get paid and whether a lien is worthwhile
With a judgment in hand, you can find out what assets the debtor might own, including what he might earn from his job, and with the help of an attorney, figure out the best way you can get repaid. You’ve indicated that your debtor doesn’t have assets to repay you, so you need to be careful where you spend your own money in trying to collect the debt. No sense throwing good money after bad in this case, unless there is a good chance you can collect.
Otherwise, you’ll have to sit and wait and make sure you keep your judgment alive with the hope that the debtor comes to own property that you can then lien and force the debtor to pay what he owes.
This is a good lesson for anyone who is a tenant, landlord, or owns property. If they get into legal trouble and their creditor gets a judgment against them, that judgment can come back to haunt them years later.
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I have a lien on some property. I had an attorney try to get my money or sell it. Year went by got tired of it fired the attorney to stop asditional fees I have been unable to pay the attorney. I am retired. Now he is having the property put in receivership to get his money. I do not owned the property. How can the attorney make the owner sell it. Thank you for your help. I am retired dont know what to do.
We bought a vacant property in August 2018 and there wasn’t a lien on the property. Today I get a welcome letter from the subdivision saying the previous owner owes maintenance fees of 1,030.21 and we owe 145.12. I tried 2 times prior to today to get in contact with them to learn about the subdivision and no one has ever contacted me till I got this letter today 09/26/19 of a threat to put a lien on our property because of the previous owner debt. Can they do this? We would have never bought this property if we knew this. This subdivision was and is irresponsible for letting the amount get so high since 10/18/2010. Can someone please advise me?
First thing, I am NOT a Lawyer, Real Estate Agent, or a Licenced Professional in the Real Estate industry or any other. So for what little experience I have with buying property, I know that it is standard practise and required by most Lenders to pay for a Title Lawyer to due a tilt search on the property before a mortgage loan is approved. If you have a copy of your closing statement, there should be a section within the closing costs that stats the Law Firm or Tile Company that did their due diligence when researching the property. If that is the case, contact them and forward a copy of the paperwork. That is what they were paid to do. If in fact the HOA has a legitimate claim, the Title company is on the hook for the bill. If by chance they try to give you the run around, contact your lender for advise on your next plan of action. Ultimately, your lender owns the property until the Mortgage is settled and they would have as much “interest” in this as you do. Good luck and hope this helps you get things settled.
Our son has a legal debt. I am trying to get a loan. A judgement came up on title search, it’s attached to a property my husband and I own. Bank is saying we have to satisfy judgement in order to get loan. How is this his legal when my son’s name isn’t on the deed???