How to Remove Liens on Property
How to Remove Liens on Property in Oklahoma
Property liens can pose significant challenges for real estate owners and investors and must be addressed before a transaction, refinance, or other useful exchange can happen with liened property. There are several options available for removing liens on property in Oklahoma, although they each come with potentially significant consequences.
See our article on the types of liens in Oklahoma for more background.
We frequently get asked these questions about lien removal:
How do I get notice that someone put a lien on my property? What are my options when someone files a lien on my property? Can I remove the lien someone filed on my property? What type of attorney can help me remove a lien on my home?
Step One: How to Get Notice of a Lien on Your Property
The first step for any lien removal is always finding out you have a lien. Liens must be recorded in the land records, or register of deeds, which is managed by the county clerk in every county in Oklahoma – note that this is not the same office as the county court clerk. For some particular counties, you can sign up to have the county clerk’s office proactively notify you when someone records an instrument that affects your name or your property; the best examples are the Tulsa County Clerk Recording Notification System and the Oklahoma County Clerk Property Alert System.
Here are some of the most common lien removal options:
1. Paying the Lien Amount. The most straightforward way to remove a lien from your property is to pay the outstanding debt or amount that led to the lien. This option is generally applicable for all lien types. Once the lien holder receives payment in full, they should release the lien and provide you with the necessary written and signed documentation to prove that the debt has been satisfied. Any lien waivers or releases that are signed by the lien claimant should be recorded in the same county clerk office where the original lien was recorded.
2. Negotiating the Lien Amount. In some cases, lien holders may be open to negotiating the lien amount in exchange for more prompt payment. This option can be particularly useful when dealing with creditors who are willing to work with you to find a mutually acceptable solution. Negotiating the lien amount may involve discussions, agreements, and potential settlement offers. It is important to have experienced legal representation during this process to ensure that any negotiated agreement is properly documented and definitively concludes the matter.
3. Disputing the Lien Amount to a Successful Judgment. If you believe that the lien amount is incorrect or unjustified, you can dispute the lien through legal processes. Consult with a trusted Oklahoma real estate attorney to assess the validity of the lien and determine whether you have grounds for a dispute or successful defense. If your lien dispute challenge is successful and the court rules in your favor, the lien may be invalidated or adjusted to a more accurate amount.
4. Invalidating the Lien Through Court Action. If you believe that the lien was improperly placed on your property, you can take legal action to invalidate it; this is different than disputing the amount of the lien and instead aims to completely avoid any payment. For example, if you can prove that the lien holder did not follow proper procedures or did not have a valid claim in the first place, a court may rule in your favor and order the lien’s removal. This option requires presenting evidence and arguments to support your case.
5. Filing a Lien Release Bond with the County Clerk. In some instances, property owners may be able to obtain a lien release by filing a lien release bond with the county clerk’s office. This option is typically applicable when there is a legitimate dispute over the lien, and the property owner wants to regain the ability to sell or refinance the property while the dispute is still being resolved. The bond acts as a guarantee that the lien holder will be compensated if they ultimately prevail in the dispute.
6. Allowing the Lien to Be Foreclosed and the Property to Be Sold. If you are unable or unwilling to satisfy the debt that led to the lien, and no agreement can be reached for repayment or settlement, the lien holder may have the right to foreclose the lien and obtain a court order to sell the property (typically at a sheriff’s auction). Once sold, the proceeds from the sale would be used to satisfy the debt. While allowing foreclosure is an option, it should generally be a last resort, as it will result in the loss of the property and is sure to have a negative impact on the debtor’s credit score.
7. Using Bankruptcy. Filing for bankruptcy protection will place an automatic stay on all creditor collection activities, including enforcement of liens. Depending on the type of bankruptcy and the debtor’s circumstances, some liens may be discharged entirely. This option has significant negative consequences and should be considered carefully.
Seek Legal Guidance
A knowledgeable and skilled attorney can assess your specific situation, advise you on the best course of action, and represent your interests throughout the dispute or lien removal process. Oklahoma law treats each lien case as unique, and having an experienced attorney by your side can help you achieve the best possible outcome.
Avenue Legal Group Can Help
We help our clients navigate lien claims, disputes, settlements, releases, and all other aspects of liens throughout Oklahoma. Contact us today with whatever communication method you prefer – call, text, email, or online submission – to discuss your lien matter.
Have Questions?Contact Us