What is a Home Lien?

Erin J. Hill
Erin J. Hill
A mortgage on a home is one example of a home lien.
A mortgage on a home is one example of a home lien.

A home lien is a legal claim held by someone other than the home’s owner against a property, usually in response to a debt. This usually comes in the form of a mortgage and means that the home is partially owned by the bank or mortgage holder until the home is paid off. Other liens can also be held against the home, as in the case of a property owner being sued and judgments being placed on the house.

Although most people assume that a home lien is a bad thing, home mortgages are a form of lien that is often necessary and is not necessarily negative. This just means that if homeowners fail to make a payment on their balance, the mortgage holder can foreclose on the property and take possession of it to resell in order to collect the money. While this is a negative thing for those who cannot make their payments, mortgages allow those who do not have the money to pay in full the chance to own a home.

Sometimes a home lien can come as a result of a lawsuit against the home’s owner. When a judgment is placed on someone who has ownership of a property, it is also against the home itself. This means that before the homeowner can sell that home, he or she must pay off the debt owed, or some of the money from the home sale will be taken as payment. This type of home lien is usually only an issue for the person owing the debt, but sometimes a house or land can be purchased with liens from a previous owner.

Before purchasing a new home or lot, it is important to get a title search performed to ensure that there is no home lien against the property. Although in most cases the former owner would have had to pay off any outstanding debts against the property, this is sometimes overridden. For instance, if the former owner lost his or her home due to back taxes, the county or city takes any money from the sale and any additional debts may go unpaid.

If one has a home lien against his or her property that came as the result of a previous owner, there are various ways the situation can be remedied. He or she can wait until all liens have expired, assuming they are not renewed. This usually occurs after ten years, but the exact amount of time may vary based on location. The owner can also seek the advice of an attorney who may be able to negotiate a way to get the liens removed. Sometimes the current homeowner may end up having to pay part of all of the lien amount before being allowed to sell.

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    • A mortgage on a home is one example of a home lien.
      By: Elenathewise
      A mortgage on a home is one example of a home lien.