What is a Property Lien?

What is a Property Lien?

Tuesday May 07th, 2024


A property lien is a legal claim that one party has on a piece of property, usually for the payment of a debt or other obligation. Liens can be placed on real estate by a variety of creditors, including mortgage lenders, contractors, and the government.

Types of Liens

Mortgage Liens

One of the most common types of liens on a property is a mortgage lien. When a borrower takes out a mortgage to buy a property, the lender places a lien on the property as collateral for the loan. The lien remains in place until the mortgage is paid off, at which point the lien is released.

Voluntary Liens

Voluntary liens are liens that the property owner has willingly agreed to place on their property. For example, a property owner may take out a second mortgage or home equity loan, which would create a voluntary lien on the property.

Involuntary Liens

Involuntary liens are liens that are placed on a property without the property owner's consent. One common example of an involuntary lien is a tax lien, which is placed on a property by the government when the owner fails to pay property taxes.

How Liens Affect Property Sales

When a property has a lien on it, the lien must be satisfied before the property can be sold. This means that the lien holder must be paid the amount owed on the lien before the property can be transferred to a new owner. In some cases, the lien holder may agree to release the lien at the time of the sale, but this is not always the case.

How to Remove a Lien

If you are a property owner and you want to remove a lien from your property, there are a few steps you can take. First, you will need to pay off the debt or obligation that led to the lien in the first place. Once the debt is paid, you can request that the lien holder release the lien. If the lien holder refuses to release the lien, you may need to take legal action to have it removed.

In some cases, liens may be removed automatically. For example, if a tax lien is placed on a property and the owner pays the taxes owed, the lien will be released automatically.


Liens are an important part of the real estate landscape, and they can have a significant impact on property sales and ownership. If you are buying or selling a property, it is important to be aware of any liens that may be attached to the property, and to take steps to address them before the sale is finalized.

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