Legal Question in Real Estate Law in New Jersey

How do you put a lien on someones property?

If someone owes you money and you don't think they will pay you back (IRS problems, bankruptcy, etc), can you put a lien on their house so at least you could get your money back when its sold? I called the county clerks office and got two different answers. The first time they said you can not put a lien on someones house unless you were a contractor and they owed you money for something to do with the house. The second person said I needed to just go to an office supply store and get a lien form and bring it to the clerks office to record. Whats the process? I don't want to go to small claims court because they don't have any money!


Asked on 9/16/05, 8:20 am

2 Answers from Attorneys

Robert Davies The Davies Law Firm, P.A.

Re: How do you put a lien on someones property?

Your situation happens thousands of times a year. You need to sue the people who owe you, get a judgment and 'docket' the judgemnt.

any decent attorney can do this, or more cheaply, guide you to do it. first, try it w/out an atty. It might, depending on the facts, be best to go to the courthouse where the other person lives and file the lawsuit. or maybe you can file it in your home county courthouse, i do not know at this point without more info.

if i can help, call 973 890 0400

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Answered on 9/16/05, 10:39 am

Walter LeVine Walter D. LeVine, Esq.

Re: How do you put a lien on someones property?

I concur with Bob. Unless you are a contractor whose goods or services related to the house itself (not just being a general creditor of the owner), you could file a materialmans lien. In all other cases, you must sue, get a judgment and docket it to have a valid lien. You could, as part of the suit, when initiated, record what is known as a "lis pendens", which is public notice that litigation is pending. Unless you actually sue and get a judgment, this document would be invalid if the house was sold.

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Answered on 9/16/05, 10:56 am

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