A lien is a claim on a property that's used as collateral for a dept. Examples of debts include funds borrowed for purchase, payment of obligations or performance of services. For example, a mortgage is a type of lien. It is widely understood that when selling a property encumbered by a mortgage, the mortgage lien must be removed by the satisfaction of the loan obligation before title can pass to the new owner.
There are other types of liens that may exist on a property primarily due to an unpaid debt. The homeowner is usually aware of a lien. In some cases, however, the lien comes as a surprise when the sale of the home is imminent.
The primary sources of liens are contractor liens for money owed for work done to the home, tax liens and judgment liens. It is a relatively simple process to determine if a lien has been filed against a property. The information is public and can be obtained through the county clerk or assessor's office. If the lien is valid and for monies owed, it must be satisfied before or through the escrow sale process.
A larger problem occurs when the lien has been inappropriately filed or represents a debt that has already been satisfied. In such a case, it may become necessary to consult with a Florida eminent domain lawyer. There may have simply been a mistake in filing or not removing the lien, or it may be a matter of a fraudulent lien. In either case, clearing title may require court action.