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New York Lien Search

A New York lien search involves searching for property records to determine if there are any existing liens on a property. Lien searches also help ascertain the existence or otherwise of any encumbrance or legal claim on a property in the state. In New York, a lien search is essential for the following reasons.

  • Assessing financial tractions linked to a property
  • Lending money to entities who use the property as collateral and
  • For transactions in real estate.

What is a Lien in New York

In New York, a lien is a legal right bestowed by law on an entity over a property if the owner defaults on a debt repayment or fails to meet obligations. New York liens share similar characteristics with those of the other states in the United States. Typically, the following key characteristics apply to liens in New York:

  • They act as a safeguard for creditors against loans or debts owed by debtors
  • They are public records and are recorded at the county clerk's office where the property is located
  • They are attached to the debts or obligations of the property owner.

 Also, a New York lien has legal implications for the property owner and lienholder. These include the following:

  • The lienholder has the legal right to seize or foreclose the property if the owner defaults in debt repayment or fails to meet obligations specified in a contract document.
  • If there is more than one lien on a property, the law accords priority in determining the order of payments. The payment order will be by the recording date, with preference given to earlier recordings.

Note: Some types of lien adhere to strict notice requirements that must be fulfilled, and failure to do so renders it invalid. For instance, the following are notice requirements when filing a mechanics lien:

  • Contractors, subcontractors, and suppliers must provide pre-lien notice to the property owner before filing a lien.
  • Lien notices must be filed with the county clerk's office where the property is located within eight months from the job completion or supply date. 
  • A lienholder can file a notice of pendency with the county clerk's office to notify potential buyers of an existing lien on the property.

Types of Liens in New York

There are several categories of liens available in New York. Typically, liens in New York can be grouped into general and specific liens based on the extent of property covered. 

Notwithstanding the above categories, New York liens can also be categorized into consensual (or voluntary), involuntary, and statutory liens based on the origin, agreement, or legal basis on which they are filed. 

General Liens in New York

General liens in New York are legal claims or encumbrances by a creditor on a debtor's assets not tied to a specific property. If a debtor defaults on debt repayment or fails to meet obligations, general liens real estate claims cover all the debtor's assets in a jurisdiction.

Specific Liens

In New York, specific liens are legal claims by creditors against a specific property to recover debts or payments for obligations. Specific liens are tied to a particular property, and a creditor's claim may not go beyond such property. Examples of specific liens in New York include

  • Car loan lien
  • Mortgage lien
  • Real estate property tax lien
  • Artisan's lien, and 
  • Mechanic's lien.

Consensual vs Involuntary Liens

In New York, a consensual lien arises from an agreement between the debtor and the creditor when the debtor offers to use the property as collateral for a loan or contractual agreement. Common examples of consensual liens are mortgage, equipment financing, and car loan liens.

Unlike consensual liens, third parties or the law impose involuntary liens on the property owner. The involuntary lien arises from specific laws or events, and the property owner has no say. Examples of involuntary liens in New York are:

  • Judgment lien
  • Tax Lien and 
  • Mechanic's lien.

Statutory Liens

Statutory liens are imposed by the law without the property owner's consent as a result of specific statutes or laws. In New York, statutory liens are involuntary and may be imposed by the law to secure payments for tax, utilities, fines, and other obligations. Statutory liens in New York include tax lien, judgment lien, mechanic's lien, and construction lien.

What is a Tax Lien in New York

Tax Lien in New York is a legal claim imposed by the taxing authority on a taxpayer's property for non-payment of certain taxes. In New York, the law may impose a tax lien on a property for unpaid property taxes. The following laws support tax lien in New York:

New York tax liens are public records recorded at the county clerk's office where the property is located. Typically, New York laws empower municipal and county governments to place tax liens on property owners who are delinquent in tax payments in the state. The implications of New York tax lien being public records include:

  • It is accessible to any interested individual who wants to check property records for any existing tax lien.
  • Complicating property transactions. Tax liens on a property affect its marketability.
  • It hurts the credit score of the credit bureau and the property owner's financial standing.
  • The property risks foreclosure if the owner defaults on tax payments. 

New York Tax Lien Search

The following are guidelines on how to find liens on a property in New York:

  • New York tax liens are recorded at the county level, identify the county clerk's office where the property is located
  • Contact the county's tax collector
  • Provide accurate information to enable the tax collector's office to locate the property records.

For individuals who may not be opportune to check for liens on property in person, information on property tax liens in New York is also available through:

Federal Tax Lien Search

U.S. federal tax lien is the encumbrance or claims on the property of a delinquent taxpayer. For federal tax lien lookup in New York:

  • Log in to the IRS website and locate the lien section to access the online search tools
  • Provide information on the property of interest (the name of the individual or business may suffice)
  • Scrutinize the results of the search for the required information. If the results contain the required information, note the address of the IRS office that filed the lien, the filing date, and the outstanding debts.

Federal tax lien lookup may also be available in New York through in-person visits to the local tax collector's office.

What is a Lien on Property in New York

A lien on property in New York is a legal claim by a lender against a debtor's property to effect payment of debt or obligations. A lienholder has the right to seize, possess, or foreclose property if the debtor defaults in meeting the financial obligations outlined in the contract.

Who can put a lien on a property?

In New York, several entities have the authority to put a lien on a property. The following entities are eligible to put a lien on New York properties:

  • Mortgage lenders as a voluntary agreement to safeguard against default in payment 
  • Judgment creditors who obtained court orders to enforce payment 
  • Federal, state, municipal, and county government to enforce payment of taxes by delinquent taxable individuals 
  • Contractors and suppliers to force the property owner to pay for services rendered and materials supplied 
  • Homeowners Association to enforce dues and fees payments 
  • Creditors with a consensual lien to cause the property owner to stick to the terms of an agreement.

How to put a lien on property in New York

The steps below outline how to put a lien on a property in New York:

  • Identify specific types of lien that apply under the particular circumstance. For instance, a mechanic lien is ideal for breach of contracts 
  • Confirm the legal basis for putting a lien on the property
  • Issue a notice of the impending lien on the property to the debtor or property owner if applicable (this is important when filing a mechanic's lien)
  • File the lien at the appropriate government agency. For instance, a tax lien must be filed with the county clerk's office at the property location.
  • Submit the necessary and accurate documents to back up the lien. For example, provide court judgment or other relevant documents. 
  •  Take notes of any time limit on filing a lien in the locality
  • If in doubt about the procedures of filing a lien in New York, seek advice from legal professionals.

There are several legal requirements to consider when putting liens on a New York property. The following conditions apply to New York property lien:

  • Notice - For certain types of lien, a notice of intent must be served to the property owner to validate it. For instance, the law requires that the property owner must be notified before putting a mechanic lien on a New York property.
  • Time limit - Action on a lien may not exceed one year from the date of notice of filing the lien at the county clerk's office 
  • Documentation - Accurate documents must be submitted to support the process when filing for a lien
  • There must be a valid legal basis for putting a lien on a property in New York. 
  • If there are multiple liens on a property, priority is accorded to the date of recording, with preference accorded to the earliest recordings.
  • Property owners have the right to challenge any lien put on their properties.
  • A lienholder must release the lien on a property by issuing a lien release letter if the conditions for putting such a lien are fulfilled to avoid legal issues.

How to Find a Lien on Property in New York

There are several ways to check liens on property in New York. Information on liens on a property in New York may be available through:

  • County Tax Assessor's Office
  • Government agencies websites (such as the IRS)
  • Public notice through local media or online announcements
  • Real estate professionals
  • Legal professionals, and
  • Online property search services.

Property Lien Search By Address

To conduct a New York property lien search by address:

Visit or contact any of the following entities in person or through their websites:

  • The county clerk's office or website 
  • The tax assessor's office or website 
  • Property search websites
  • Public records search websites
  • Title companies’ websites.

Provide the property address or input it into the title search to locate the property records or land records.

Free Lien Search on Property

For free property lien search in New York, do the following:

Step 1. Visit or contact any of the following entities:

  • The county recorder's office where the property is located
  • The county tax assessor's office
  • Online property search services
  • Relevant federal and local agencies’ websites
  • Community libraries
  • Public records websites

Step 2. For in-person search, provide the information that will aid in locating the property title (such as property).  

Step 3. To check liens on property online, input the property address into the title search

Step 4. Sieve through the resulting land record for any relevant information.

What is a Mechanics Lien in New York?

A mechanic’s lien in New New York is a legal claim a contractor, subcontractor, or supplier has on a property due to the inability of the property owner to pay debts resulting from jobs done or materials supplied.

The purpose of a New York mechanics’ lien is to

  • Enforce payment of debts or obligations by debtors through repossession, seizing, or foreclosure of the property.
  • Act as a security shield and protect the interest of the lienholder if the debtor defaults in payments or fails to meet the terms of the agreement.
  • Prioritize payments to the lienholder in the event of foreclosure or property sale.
  • Serve as a legal recourse for claims on debts owed by the property owner
  • Protect the interest of contractors, subcontractors, and suppliers that may not have a direct contractual relationship with the property owner and ensure the job owner compensates them for a job done.

New York Mechanics Lien Search 

The following steps will help interested individuals to conduct a mechanics lien search in New York:

  • Identify the specific property for the mechanics' lien search
  • Reach out to the local tax assessor's office at the county where the property is located (address information may be available on their official website or through the local county clerk's office)
  • Provide information that will aid in locating the property records.

For online mechanics lien search, visit the websites of the following entities and use search tools to locate the records on their databases (if available):

  • The county clerk's office 
  • Local tax assessor's office 
  • Third-party websites
  • Title companies.

After the search, review the results and filter out irrelevant information. 

What is a Mortgage Lien in New York?

In New York, a mortgage lien is an encumbrance on a property as a security for a mortgage loan. New York mortgage lien has implications on real estate transactions in the state for the following reasons:

  • It affects the property title and may cause buyers to have a rethink 
  • The mortgagor may need the lienholder's approval to transfer or carry out transactions on the property
  • To sell the property, the owner must make a full mortgage payment to the creditor
  • Intending buyers must be informed of any existing lien on a property 
  • There is a risk of foreclosure if the mortgagor fails to pay back the loan
  • The property value may depreciate due to an existing lien (buyers will factor in the cost of paying off the lienholder)
  • It puts the seller at a disadvantage when negotiating a price for the sale of the property
  • There must be compliance with local laws regarding mortgage transactions. 

What is a UCC Lien in New York? 

In New York, a Uniform Commercial Code (UCC) lien is a legal claim against the personal assets of debtors as collateral for loans or obligations. The UCC stands for a set of rules that applies across the states of the U.S.

In New York, UCC lien:

  • Applies to personal assets and does not cover real estate. Typically, UCC covers commercial transactions involving movable assets such as equipment and inventory. 
  • The financing statement must be filed with the New York Secretary of State to put subsequent lenders on alert regarding the existing lien on the property.
  • Must show clarity, and the financing statement must give details of the collateral for the lien.
  • Will establish priority if multiple liens competing for a particular property, and preference will be given to the creditor with the first valid financing statement 
  • Must be renewed or terminated within a timeframe of five years
  • Empower the lender to seize or foreclose the collateral if the debtor defaults in debt repayment or fails to meet obligations. 

UCC Lien Search New York

A UCC lien search in New York involves access to records from the New York Secretary of State database. The following steps outline how to search for a UCC lien in New York.

For an in-person New York UCC lien search, interested individuals should visit the nearest New York Division of Corporations, State Records and Uniform Commercial Code office.

What is a Lien Title in New York

A title lien is a legal claim a lender has over a property attached to a loan or obligations until the debt is paid off or the obligations are satisfied. For instance, a lender may be listed as a title lienholder on a car purchased through loan financing, and the lien will persist until the borrower fulfills the loan conditions.

New York Title Lien Search

To search for a New York title lien, log in to the New York Department of Motor Vehicle (DMV) website.

Also, Information on title lien may be available through the county property appraiser's office or website.

Free Title Lien Search in New York

For a free lien title search in New York:

  • Log in to the DMV website and click on the menu icon
  • From the drop menu, select “vehicle” and click on “title”. From the resulting page, scroll down and click on “check a title or lien status.”
  • On the new page, scroll down and click on “check a title or lien status online.” 
  • The following information is required to complete a free title lien search in New York: 
  • Vehicle type. For instance, is the vehicle a car or a boat?
  • Vehicle Identification Number VIN, Hull Identification Number (HIN), or manufactured home serial number, and
  • The Vehicle's model year and make.

What is a Judgement Lien in New York 

A judgment lien in New York is a legal claim by a lender against a debtor's property that results from a court order. Typically, a may grant judgment in favor of the creditor if the debtor defaults in payment or cannot meet obligations. The following are some of the implications of a judgment lien on New York individuals and businesses:

  • It hinders ownership and transfer of property by making buyers cautious 
  • It affects an individual or a business's creditworthiness, restricts access to credit, and causes cash flow problems 
  • It may lead to asset forfeiture if the debtor fails to meet the financial obligations linked to the property
  • It may lead creditors to garnish debtor's bank accounts by court order
  • It may have a negative influence on the debtor's credit report
  • Debtors may incur legal costs seeking court settlement
  • It may cause trust issues between the debtor and lenders and impact business relations.

New York Judgement Lien Search

To conduct a judgment lien search in New York, make use of the online resources of the New York State Unified Court System (UCS) The following steps should help with a New York judgment lien search:

  • Log in to the UCS website
  • Scroll down and click on the e-courts button
  • From the new page, click on the search icon to access the search bar
  • Enter the search criteria (such as the name of the entity) and search for results
  • Use filters (such as case number and date of filing) and submit to narrow the search
  • Review the results of the search for the specific judgment of interest
  • Double-check the results and note if the information is relevant
  • Save and print out the records.

Also, judgment lien records are accessible through the office or website of the county court where the order was passed.

How to Get a Lien Release in New York 

To get a lien release in New, the following steps and requirements apply:

  • Pay off the debts owed the lien holder
  • Contact the lienholder and obtain a lien release form as evidence of debt repayment
  • Show proof of payment to the lienholder 
  • Fill out the lien release form with accurate information
  • Notarize the lien release form (if necessary) to make it more authentic
  • Send the completed form to the relevant office. This depends on the lien type. For instance, release forms for liens on real estate should go to the county clerk's office where the property is located, while those on vehicles should be sent to the New York Department of Motor Vehicles.
  • Pay any fee associated with the recording of the lien release
  • Follow up to ensure that the lien release is officially recorded
  • Ensure that the property title is updated to clear the property and ensure issue-free future transactions
  • Retain copies of documents relating to the release (this includes the lien release form, proof of payment, and record of communication with the lien holder).

How to Get a Copy of a Lien Release in New York

To get a copy of a lien release in New York, apply the following steps:

  • Identify and contact the lienholder
  • Provide proof of satisfaction by showing evidence of payment to clear the debt (this may be in the form of a paid-off statement or any valid document that confirms payment)
  • Send a request to the lienholder for a copy of the lien release. The lien release must contain the following information: 
    • The lien reference number
    • The property address
    • The debtor's contact information 

Also, depending on the lien type, copies of the lien release may be available through the county clerk's office where the property is located (for real estate) or the New York Department of Motor Vehicles. Contact any of the above entities and inquire how to get a copy of the lien release.

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