A lien allows one person or company to secure another's real estate as collateral for uncollected debt. If you are owed debt by a person or company, you may attach a lien to his property so long as you have proof of an unpaid debt or obligation and have given him 90 days to pay the debt. You cannot place a lien on a property that the debtor is renting or leasing. The property must be owned by him or he must have a loan in his name on the property. If you are sure he is the owner of the property, you can proceed with preparing to file a lien.
Send a certified letter to the debtor detailing her payment arrangements and notify her of impending liens. You may want to ensure that you get delivery confirmation as well as signature request when you mail the letter. SInce courts request that you give your debtor 90 days to satisfy the debt before they grant a lien, delivery and signature confirmation will assure a judge that the debtor did receive the letter and had adequate time to pay the debt.
Gather proof of the debt in order to place a lien on property. This proof may include a loan contract, an outstanding invoice or a payment agreement. Many creditors choose to retain an attorney to place a lien, especially if the amount owed is significant. You may also choose to have an attorney mail the 90-day notice of lien. It may encourage payment of the debt without your having to take the other party to court.
Begin the process of filing for a judgment if the debtor does not pay his debt within 90 days. You can contact your local magistrate office to obtain the proper forms to file a complaint that the debt is owed. The debtor will have a reasonable amount of time to answer the complaint, usually 30 days. If the customer responds, you will have to go to court and provide proof that the debt is owed. If the debtor fails to respond, you will receive a judgment. If you receive a judgment in your favor, you will be able to place a lien on the debtor's property by going to the local Registry of Deeds and Records. This is usually in the local courthouse. Some smaller county courts do not maintain a Registry of Deeds and Records office and require that you file the notice of lien with the auditor's office. If you are unsure, ask an employee of the courts or your attorney.
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