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Real Property Liens

Orange County Real Property Judgment Lien Lawyer

Real Property Judgment Liens as a Commercial Collection Tool

scales-justice-debt-collectionJudgment creditors have the ability to create liens encumbering debtors’ real property in Orange County and throughout California.  Creditors should record real property liens immediately, as doing so is inexpensive and can be quite effective.  Liens should be recorded in all counties in which the debtor lives, does business, or may own real property.  If done properly, the creditor will create encumbrances against the debtor’s real property which act similarly to other types of liens (e.g., deeds of trust).  These judgment liens can cause serious problems for debtors, which often brings them to the table to negotiate.

Need Help Recording a Real Property Judgment Lien in California?

Given the importance of recording real property liens quickly, it is wise to engage an experienced judgment collection law firm immediately upon obtaining your judgment.  We can often record judgment liens in a matter of days.

The Wallin Firm focuses on collecting large debts from debtors in Orange County and throughout California.  Our philosophy is simple – do everything needed to maximize our clients’ likelihood of collecting their judgments.  Please contact The Wallin Firm at (949) 203-3870 for a complimentary analysis of your judgment and collection options.

Why Real Property Judgment Liens Are So Effective

Complying with California’s lien procedures allows a creditor to obtain a lien on any real property owned by the debtor in the county in which it is recorded.  The lien attaches to all real property in the debtor’s name. See CCP § 697.310(a).  The lien remains effective for 10 years.  This tool is particularly effective for at least four reasons:

  1. Once the lien is created, it is very difficult for the debtor to sell or transfer the property without addressing the creditor’s judgment.  This is because the judgment lien is an encumbrance similar to other liens (e.g., deeds of trust) meaning the lien continues to attach to the property even if transferred to a third party. See CCP § 697.390(a).  If the debtor ever seeks to sell or refinance the property, the creditor must usually first satisfy the creditor’s judgment.
  2. The creditor is not required to know the specific real property owned by the debtor.  Rather, the lien automatically attaches to all real property owned by the debtor within the county, regardless of the creditor’s knowledge of such ownership.
  3. The lien automatically attaches to real property acquired by the debtor in the future.  This is very helpful.  When chased by creditors, debtors often avoid owning real property.  But when the debtor’s financial condition improves, the debtor may purchase property in the future.  If done properly, the real property lien will automatically attach to a future-acquired real property.
  4. A properly recorded real property lien makes it easier for the creditor to force a sale of the real property.

 

How to Collect Judgments via Real Property Judgment Liens

  1. To record a real property lien, the creditor must complete an Abstract of Judgment, and submit it to the court.  The clerk of the court will then issue the Abstract of Judgment and return the original to the creditor.  To create the real property lien, the creditor must record the original Abstract of Judgment with the County Recorder.
  2. After the Abstract of Judgment has been recorded, the original is returned to the creditor, and should be retained for future recordings.  The real property lien attaches to any present or future, vested or contingent, legal or equitable property in the name of the debtor at the time the lien was created.  See Code of Civil Procedure 697.340(a).  The lien will also attach to any interest in real property that the debtor acquires after the lien is created. See CCP § 697.340(b).
  3. Importantly, real property liens usually survive the debtor’s bankruptcy filing.  In most cases, the debtor’s bankruptcy filing will eliminate the debtor’s personal liability to the creditor, but the judgment lien will remain in place post-bankruptcy.

 

When to Use Real Property Judgment Liens to Collect a Judgment

Always.  Recording real property liens is quick and inexpensive.  Creditors should immediately record real property liens in every county in which the debtor may own real property, now or in the future.

Certain law firms (including our firm) have substantial access to real property records, allowing us to quickly determine the location and estimated value of the debtor’s real property.  If you need assistance identifying the debtor’s real property and/or recording real property liens, please contact our firm at (949) 203-3870.

 

Contact The Wallin FirmToday for a Judgment Review

When it comes to recording real property liens, it is important to act quickly.  We swiftly record real property liens for our clients.  Please contact us at (949) 203-3870 to begin the process.

 

References & Helpful Links:

http://www.courts.ca.gov/documents/ej001.pdf  (Abstract of Judgment)

http://codes.lp.findlaw.com/cacode/CCP/3/2/9/d2/2/2/s697.310

http://www.leginfo.ca.gov/cgi-bin/displaycode?section=ccp&group=00001-01000&file=697.310-697.410