Recovery via Judgment Liens

Will I Ever Receive Payment on Old Judgment Liens and Mechanic’s Liens?

Will you receive payment on old judgment and mechanic’s liens? Short answer: maybe. We watch the markets and monitor index trends closely, because our business fluctuates as the economy fluctuates. Obviously this is no secret – all businesses see ebbs & flows with changes in the economy – that’s what makes the economy work (or not work, depending on who you ask).

This may be a bold statement, but I’ll say it anyway: the real estate market is recovering. Saying this is bold, because the term “recovering” or “recovery” is abundantly overused and has become somewhat diluted throughout this last recession. However, now that there is upward movement in the real estate market, we are seeing benefits trickle down to contractors, subcontractors and suppliers.

How does a rebounding real estate market benefit contractors, subcontractors and suppliers? Well, there is the obvious: more projects are underway, which means more work is available and of course that should mean more money. However, we are also seeing an increase the payment of old debt.

More and more title companies are calling to pay off old judgment liens and mechanic’s liens that remain of record. This makes sense, because you can’t sell your property if the title is clouded aka if there is an encumbrance on your property.

To help ensure you are putting yourself in the best possible position to get paid, we recommend you:

  • Consider getting a judgment, even if your debtor appears to be uncollectable. It’s important that you review your options closely and make sure it is the right fiscal choice based on what you are owed and the costs associated with placing the judgment.
  • Make sure the judgment is recorded as a lien in the county in which the debtor has property. 28 U.S. Code § 3201 – Judgment Liens section (a) Creation clearly states “A judgment in a civil action shall create a lien on all real property of a judgment debtor…”
  • Consider renewing old judgments before they expire. Again, review your options & weigh the costs vs. the benefits, but don’t let these securities lapse.

In a perfect world a mechanic’s lien and/or judgment lien filing will get you paid, but the reality is that recovering monies secured by any instrument can take time. As it turns out, patience may be the next best thing to judgments and mechanic’s liens.

*It is recommended you seek a legal opinion via an experienced attorney. Every situation is unique and may require thorough review.

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