Who Can Put a Lien on Your House in California

A lien is a claim or a legal right against assets that are used as collateral. This is normally done to satisfy a debt. A legal judgment or even a creditor can easily establish a lien. A lien ensures an obligation, such as the underlying obligation of repaying a loan. 

If you are an individual and you are shopping for a home, then you really should pay attention to the property, as well as double-check any possible lien that could be in place. A lien could delay the process of buying your home and it can also make it hard for you to qualify for refinancing. You must check the public record for a piece of property, so you can then see if it’s encumbered. 

Even if the financial obligation has been settled and the lien on the home has been addressed, the public record may still be outdated. When a bank or financial institution examines the history of a lien, they are likely to postpone any purchase until they can verify that the property is financially clear.

selling a house with a lien in california

Common Types of Home Liens in California

There are a lot of different types of home liens out there. Specific liens are attached to one asset, such as a certain address. Liens can either be voluntary or they can be involuntary. A bank takes out a lien when a borrower is moved to a mortgage, which is a voluntary lien. If you had an involuntary lien then the creditor could well seek legal recourse by filing a lien with the state agency if the borrower was to default on a loan or any other financial obligation. Liens can be paced by a government agency, a creditor, or even a contractor.

Tax Lien

One of the liens you will come across would be a tax lien. This is a type of lien that is put on your property by a government agency. This normally covers unpaid income tax or even property tax. The IRS may place a lien on your home if you have any unpaid federal taxes. First of all, the agency will take steps to tell you about your obligation and if you do not reply or if you do not take steps to pay off your debt then the IRS may end up placing a lien on your home or any other assets you may have. The only way to release yourself from this lien would be for you to clear the debt.

General Judgement Lien

This lien is granted to a creditor after a court rules in favor of the creditor. When a debtor does not meet their obligation, the creditor may sue the debtor in court so that any outstanding balance can be paid. If the court rules in the favor of the creditor then they have to document the lien via the county or even through the appropriate recording agency. This allows the filer the right to take possession of a piece of property until the debt is paid. Property could include a business, real estate, general belongings, vehicles, and anything else of the sort.

Mechanic’s Lien

When a property owner does not pay for any work that has been done or even for supplies, then construction companies, contractors, and builders may go on to file a mechanic’s lien. This document allows parties to be compensated should there be payment issues that could result in a breach of contract. At the end of the day, a lot of contractors and other businesses send the debtor a payment request, as well as a notice of intent before this type of lien is filed. They may proceed if the debtor refuses to settle. This means that paperwork will be filed and action will be taken.

property lien process california

The Legal Process of a Lien on Your California House

Liens can have a major impact on property owners. They can prevent the sale or the transfer of a property until the debt is satisfied. This can make it difficult to refinance a mortgage or even sell a property until the debt has been satisfied. This can lead to foreclosure in some instances. Liens can also damage a property owner’s credit score, making it difficult to obtain loans or even credit going forward.

Liens can have a significant impact on your ability to sell your property, from a legal standpoint. As a property owner, you will have to pay off the lien so you can clear the title to the property. If the lien is not paid off, the property could well be subject to foreclosure.

In California, a judgment lien can be attached to the real estate. To attach a lien to real estate, the creditor will mail the Abstract of Judgement to the county office in any California county. For personal property, they will file a Notice of Judgement Lien with the Secretary of State. 

How a Lien Could Affect Your Property Sale

A lien gives a creditor the legal right to seize and sell the property or the asset in question, should the borrower in question fail to meet the obligations within the contract. The owner can’t sell the property if it is the subject of the lien without the consent of the person who holds it.

A floating lien is a lien on an unfixed property or a piece of inventory. As a lien can be voluntary or it can be consensual, such as a property loan, it’s important to understand the type that you have. Involuntary or even statutory liens exist when the creditor chooses to seek legal action for the nonpayment. As a result, the lien is placed on assets, such as the bank account or the property.

Some liens, as explained above, are filed with the government so that the public knows that the lienholder has a certain interest in the asset or collateral. The lien has to be released before it can then be sold.

There are many ways that you can remove a lien. The most common way would be for you to pay the debt that is owed to the lien holder. When the debt is paid, the lien holder will then release the lien and the owner can then sell or even refinance the property. In some cases, the lien may be removed through some legal action. This can be the case if the property owner believes that the lien was not filed properly.

Negotiating with the Lienholder

In some instances, and a lot of this depends on the type of lien you have, you may be able to negotiate a discount on the lien. A lot of creditors are more than aware that they may never get the money back. For this reason, they may be willing to eliminate some of the debt in exchange for payment for part of the lien, or even for a monthly repayment plan. The bottom line is that creditors would rather get paid for something, rather than nothing, so you might be able to use this to your advantage if you want to sell your home.

Statute of Limitations

Some liens, including judgment liens, come with a statute of limitations. Unless the judgment is deemed satisfied, or the lien is released, it’s possible for the lien to carry on for 10 years after the date of judgment. If you work with a skilled real estate attorney then it could be possible for you to transfer your judgment lien by simply stating that the statute of limitations has run its course, voiding the judgment entirely. Most of the time though, the lien will be under this cut-off point, so you have to keep things like this in mind.

selling a house fast with liens

Selling your Home in California With a Lien

The fastest option to sell your home would be for you to partner with someone who is willing to buy your home with a lien. There aren’t many buyers who would be willing to do this, so you do need to make sure that you’re careful and that you are navigating the process properly. If you can find a service that is able to buy your property for you then this is the best solution.

California property liens can be complex depending on your situation but it is possible for you to navigate them if you simply know what steps you need to take.  If you want an immediate way to get out from underneath your lien then one thing you can do is sell your property to us. When you do, we will take on the lien, as it is attached to the property. If you want to find out more then please do get in touch with us, as we would be more than happy to work with you to make sure that you get the support you need to navigate this new chapter in your life. If you have any questions, our team is more than happy to chat with you about the process when you are trying to sell your home with a lien.