At WiseGEEK, we're committed to delivering accurate, trustworthy information. Our expert-authored content is rigorously fact-checked and sourced from credible authorities. Discover how we uphold the highest standards in providing you with reliable knowledge.

Learn more...

What Is a Notice of Intent to Lien?

Felicia Dye
Felicia Dye

A lien is a legal claim on a portion or all of something that is in the possession of another party. A notice of intent to lien is a document that communicates that someone intends to make such a claim. In some jurisdictions, for certain types of debts, such documents are required before a lien can be filed. In other jurisdictions, the notice is sent voluntarily in hopes of prompting a person to pay without getting involved in formal procedures. Even when not required by law, it is generally advised that such a document be delivered in a manner that provides recognition of receipt.

When one party is indebted to another, it is often possible to place a lien on property belonging to the debtor. For example, a county may place a lien on the land of individuals who do not pay their personal property taxes. This lien can have several adverse effects for the owner, such as preventing him from selling the property or using it as collateral for a loan. Before the county takes this action, however, it may send out a notice of intent to lien.

In the US, a federal tax lien is a claim on property by the IRS.
In the US, a federal tax lien is a claim on property by the IRS.

Whether or not a specific notice of intent to lien must be used in a debt situation depends on the laws in each jurisdiction. When specific forms are not required, many people who need them obtain samples from the Internet and tailor them to fit the need. There are generally not too many changes that need to be made to such forms because each notice of intent contains nearly the same information.

To begin with, the document should identify the party that is requiring payment. This identification should include the debt holder's contact details. The reason this is important is that a notice of intent to lien generally contains a demand for settlement. This document usually threatens to take action if a debt is not satisfied within a specified period of time. It can be thought of as a final notice.

That notice should specifically state the item that will be subject to a lien if the requested payment is not made. The reason a party believes it has the right to take this action should also be outlined. In the instance of the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) placing a claim on a person's wages, the notice would state that the recipient has failed to pay a certain amount of income tax.

Discussion Comments


please help. I was deeded half of my parents' homestead land and house and my sister got the other half.

my sister got a divorce 15 years ago and her lawyer had a lien on her half of the property. He has now served papers to have a sheriff's sale on her half, but legally i have never been notified. Can he do this after 15 years? Also, my nephews paid for one tract of land and gave the money to my sister and none to me, but instead of me and my sister selling it, they put my mom and dad's name on the deed and are now ticked because it is invalid. What a mess. Even my lawyer scratches his head on this one. What can I do with this? help.

Post your comments
Forgot password?
    • In the US, a federal tax lien is a claim on property by the IRS.
      In the US, a federal tax lien is a claim on property by the IRS.