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Lien - Real Estate Liens, Other Liens - Discharging a Lien

property person encumbrance secure

A right given to another by the owner of property to secure a debt, or one created by law in favor of certain creditors.

A lien is an encumbrance on one person's property to secure a debt the property owner owes to another person. The statement that someone's property is "tied up" describes the effect of liens on both real and PERSONAL PROPERTY. Lien is a French word meaning "knot or binding" that was brought to Britain with the French language during the Norman Conquest in 1066.

Discharging a Lien

Liens are discharged after a certain length of time. The requirements for commencing their foreclosure vary among the states. If a person pays and satisfies a lien, she should be careful to obtain a written, legally sufficient release or satisfaction, and file or record it in the appropriate government office, so that her title and credit reports no longer show the encumbrance.


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