Simply put, a lien on property in Texas is a notice that a creditor has a claim to the attached property. Typically, liens are a matter of public record. When the property is sold, refinanced, or foreclosed, the lien ensures the proceeds will be used to settle debt with the creditor. If the property has multiple liens against it, they will be paid off according to each lien’s superiority.
Judgement Lien on Property in Texas
Often, a civil case will result in a judgment in which the defendant must pay reparations for the claimant’s court costs, medical bills, lost wages, or other fees. If the defendant is unable to pay the fees upfront, the judge may order a judgment lien against the debtor’s real estate or real property as a form of insurance. A judgment lien on property in Texas may only be against “real property” which includes:
Additionally, a creditor may request a judgment lien against a debtor by filing a judgment with the county court in the county where the debtor currently holds real estate or may hold real estate in the future. Texas prohibits seizures on liens against debtors homestead (primary residence), college savings fund, retirement account, or cemetery plot. Meaning the homestead exemption only prohibits the seizure of the homestead property, not from the judgment lien itself on the homestead.
How long is a judgment lien attached to the property?
In Texas, a judgment lien remains attached to the debtor’s property for ten years, even if the property changes hands during that time. The creditor’s ability to collect under a judgment lien depends on multiple factors, including:
- homestead exemption
- additional existing property liens
- foreclosure proceedings
- bankruptcy proceedings
Releasing a Lien on Property in Texas
A debtor may file an affidavit with the county to secure the release of a judgment lien against a homestead. However, the debtor must provide the creditor with a 30-day notice with a copy of the affidavit they intend to file. If filed appropriately, it may be possible for the debtor’s affidavit to serve as a release of the judgment lien against their homestead.
Property liens become complicated quickly. We’re here to help. Give us a call for a free consultation, and we’ll endeavor to sort out any lien issues.
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