How to Attach Property Liens to a House

Property liens are legal instruments that secure a piece of real estate as collateral. Common liens include mortgages and home equity lines of credit (HELOCs). Other liens include delinquent sewer and water liens (municipal liens) and delinquent tax liens (IRS liens). Attaching a lien to a property is often relatively challenging--especially when the property is not owned by you.

Things You'll Need

  • Evidence of delinquent bills (unpaid loan, taxes)
  • Judgment from courts


    • 1

      Obtain secured credit to place a property lien on your own home. This requires taking out a mortgage--either a first or second mortgage or a home equity line of credit (HELOC). You must have solid credit (at least a 660 FICO score), sufficient equity in the home and sufficient income to take out a mortgage on your property.

    • 2

      Collect all documentation and evidence supporting the need for a property lien. You can only attach a lien to another person's property by proving that the owner of the property has defaulted on an obligation. Supporting documents will include payment history on an account, original loan contract, or past due water, sewer or tax bills.

    • 3

      Give notification to the property owner. These rules will differ from state to state, but in most cases you must notify the borrower at least 90 days prior to filing for a property lien. This gives the borrower an opportunity to bring the account current and out of delinquency.

    • 4

      Hire a real estate attorney if you are unfamiliar with the legal documents (Notice of Default, Notice of Judgment) needed to file a judgment on the property. The paperwork can get confusing and complex quickly--an attorney can help you sort through the requisite documents and speedily get the authorization to secure a lien.

    • 5

      File for a judgement at the county courthouse. You'll need to get a hearing for your case. If the judge finds in your favor, you'll get a judgement notice that you can then take to the Registry of Deeds and Record on the property in question. Once recorded, the lien is legal. The property owner will not be able to sell the property until the lien is satisfied.

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