Types of Liens in Florida and How to Identify Them

When purchasing a property or business in Florida, being aware of liens can help you stay mindful of the potential risks. A lien gives a person or entity ownership over another person’s property to secure a debt, so it’s vital to understand how they affect your ability to buy, sell, or refinance your property.

Read on to learn more about Florida’s different types of liens to help you make informed decisions.

Types of Liens in Florida

Since there are several types of liens in Florida, it’s essential to know their characteristics and how to identify them:

1.    Judgment Liens

Judgment liens are legal claims against people who fail to pay a debt or fulfill monetary obligations. Creditors can file judgment liens and gain control over your personal property, like a house or car. This means you can only sell, pledge, or do something with the property if you pay back the money. The creditor will remove the lien by filing a release once you pay the debt, but they can sell the property if you don’t.

2.    Tax Liens

A tax lien is a legal claim that the government has against an individual’s property for unpaid taxes. Tax liens attach to all of your assets, including properties and vehicles. These liens get precedence over other creditors and can remain on your credit report indefinitely until you settle them, they get released, or they expire. You can check with your local county recorder’s office or consult a lien search company to identify a tax lien.

3.    Mechanic’s Liens

Mechanic’s liens are claims contractors, subcontractors, and suppliers can file to ensure payment for your property’s work or material. These liens have a higher priority than other debts and usually apply to new construction projects, remodels, or additions. Unlike judgment liens, they are involuntary and do not require a contract between the parties. In Florida, the deadline to file a mechanic’s lien is 90 days from the last day of work performed on the property.

4.    Consensual Liens

Consensual liens, also called voluntary liens, result from loans or credit advancements when borrowers pledge assets as security to the creditor. Examples of these liens include mortgages, trust deeds, vehicle loans, and equipment financing. Usually, consensual liens are non-possessory, meaning the creditor doesn’t possess the property; it remains with the debtor.

Consensual liens come in two types:

  • Purchase-Money Security Interest Liens, which provide funds for purchasing the property causing the debt.
  • Non-Purchase-Money Security Interest Liens, where existing assets serve as collateral for a loan.

5.    Unrecorded Liens

Unlike recorded liens, unrecorded liens pose a unique challenge for property buyers. These liens include unpaid real estate taxes, special assessments, and water and sewer service charges. You can partner with a lien search company to conduct an unrecorded lien search to uncover potential risks.

When purchasing a property, you can identify liens through public record searches, title searches, credit reports, and lien search companies. With 20 years of experience in real estate and title insurance, Florida Lien Search offers accurate lien verifications. We are a trusted choice for property owners, providing efficient property lien searches that help prevent delays in real estate transactions. For the best lien search support in Florida, contact us today!