When a person (the debtor) purchases real estate or property it comes with the expectation that they will pay a monthly mortgage to the bank until they own that property outright. Should something go wrong and they stop making payments, the creditor can file a lien against the debtor’s property.
Liens allow a creditor to lay claim to the property. If the debtor does not repay the debt, the creditor can sell the property to recoup their loss. A judgment lien goes a step further, with the lien blanketing all properties the debtor owns. In the state of Florida, a judgment lien becomes a public record and expires after 20 years, according to Florida Statute 55.081.
Can a debtor fight a judgment lien?
Judgment liens accrue interest over time, making the debt owed even higher than it was before. When a debtor isn’t able to pay off the lien there are several other actions they may attempt in order to have it removed. These include:
- Settling the debt: Depending on your company’s policies, you may decide to permit the debtor to make a cash settlement offer. This would allow you to recover at least part of their loss.
- Disputing the lien: A debtor can dispute the lien if they think it is inaccurate. However, if you, as the creditor, do not agree that the lien should be removed, you may have to take the debtor to court.
- Correct the lien: If the debtor bought the property and the lien attached belongs to a previous order, they can request that you remove the lien.
Disputes over property ownership can be overwhelming. You’ll need to seek assistance in order to move forward when you decide to place a lien on a debtor’s property.