Protect Your Home: How to Remove a Judgment Lien From Your Property
If you ignore debt that you owe, the court could order a judgment lien. Here are tips on how to remove a judgement lien from your house.
If a court orders you to pay a debt, you should make every attempt to pay it. Otherwise, the court could put a judgment lien on your property, which could hurt your chances of selling the property.
There are steps you can take to remove a judgment lien from your house, but the best thing you can do is avoid the situation altogether.
What is a judgment lien on property?
When someone, like a creditor, wins a lawsuit against you, the court may issue a money judgment against you that you are required to pay. If you fail to pay on the judgment, the creditor can return to court and ask for a judgment lien on your property.
A judgment lien can be placed on real estate, personal property, or vehicles. The courts use the lien to ensure you pay the amount you’ve been ordered to pay.
How does a judgment lien on property affect your house?
A judgment lien on your property gets placed on your home’s title, which prevents you from selling or refinancing the house. A property must have a clean title to be sold, transferred, or refinanced.
How does a judgment lien affect your credit score?
A judgment lien on your property won’t show up on your credit report and doesn’t impact your credit score. However, a judgment lien can still hurt your ability to refinance your home or buy a new home in the future because many lenders may check for judgments against you during the application process.
How long does a lien stay on your property?
How long a lien stays on your property varies depending on your state. A lien can remain on your property title for as long as 20 years. For example, a judgment lien on a property in Wisconsin lasts 10 years, while liens last seven years in Illinois.
How can you check if there’s a lien on your property?
In most cases, you should know if there is a judgment lien on your property, but it isn’t unusual for homeowners to discover unknown liens on their property when they decide to sell their home.
You can check if there's a judgment lien on your property by visiting your county clerk’s or assessor’s office. Information on liens is public record, so you can access it, but you may have to pay a small fee in order to get a copy.
How can you remove a judgment lien from your property?
Unless the debt collector did something illegal in filing a lien against you, there are few things you can do to remove a judgment lien except pay off the debt you owe. If you want to contest the judgment lien because the creditor committed fraud, the burden of proof is on you to prove it.
If paying off the debt is out of your reach, you can negotiate with the debt collector for a payment plan or payoff amount that they would accept to remove the lien. If negotiating doesn’t work and you still don’t have the means to pay off the debt, you could consider filing for bankruptcy. However, bankruptcy has a negative impact on your credit score and stays on your credit report for seven years, which hinders your ability to borrow money.