How to Lien Vacant Land
By William Pirraglia, eHow Contributor
People sometimes believe it’s not possible to place a lien on vacant land, since there is no home or building thereon. However, it is just as easy to lien vacant land as it is to place a lien on improved property. The legal description of real property only refers to the “dirt” involved in the lot or acreage. Therefore, if one has the proper documentation, they can record a valid lien on vacant land, assuming there are no local legal restrictions that might prohibit such a recording.
Learn the exact legal description of the land to be secured. In many states this involves researching the local real estate records to obtain the precise and exact description as it appears in the town, city or county recorder of deeds. Recording even a word or two incorrectly could jeopardize the validity of the lien documentation.
Assemble all documents creating the validity of the lien. Since vacant land, by definition, contains no improvements or structures, a lien typically can be filed only if an entity loaned money with the land as security or after a court judgment determined that the registered owner was in default on another debt. One can only record a lien for a justified and provable reason.
Verify that no restrictions exist that prohibit filing or require specific conditions for lien recording by researching the laws in your jurisdiction. General U.S. real estate law is based on ancient English property conventions. However, every local jurisdiction has its own specific laws and regulations. Become familiar with the specifics of the locale in which the vacant land sits.
Prepare the lien recording documents correctly according to your local real estate security protocol. Unlike filing a standard UCC (Uniform Commercial Code) document to secure personal property and inventory or a “fill-in-the-blanks” security agreement to establish a “secured position” in automobiles or other assets, filing a lien on property requires following local real estate security protocol. The wording, information and format must be in total adherence to local requirements to ensure that the lien is enforceable should legal action be required.
Record the lien in person at the proper venue. Even in this age of electronic communications and virtual signatures, most jurisdictions still require a physical appearance by the lien holder or her representative at the correct location, be it town or city hall, county real estate office or recorder of deeds. The name of the venue is unimportant, but recording the lien at the proper location, wherever it may be, is critical. Be sure to leave the office with a “receipt” of some type that verifies that the lien was presented for recording. Depending on the jurisdiction, it may take two weeks to three months for the physical recording to take place. It’s imperative that the recorder have printed evidence that they “virtually” recorded the lien on the date of presentation.
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