Real Property Judgment Liens, Jeffrey Bearss

Published: 02nd June 2010
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Real Property Judgment Liens, Jeffrey Bearss

1. Creation

MCL 600.2801: 2819 provide that final judgments in a court of record may attach as judgment liens on any interest in real property (including after acquired property) of the judgment debtor located in the county in which the notice of judgment lien is recorded. To accomplish this, a judgment creditor may file a notice of judgment lien with the court that issued the judgment and record it in the land title records of the county register of deeds.

MCL 600.2805 sets forth the information that must be included in a Notice of Judgment Lien:

- Case caption and docket number;

- Current name and address of the judgment attorney and creditor;

- Name and last 4 digits of the social security number or tax identification number and the last recognized address of the judgment debtor. This four-digit "identifier" ensures that the lien attaches only to property owned by the judgment debtor and not some unrelated party with a similar name. Also, using only the last four digits protects the privacy of the judgment debtor;

- Current balance due on the judgment;

- Date judgment entered, expiration date of the judgment and expiration date of the judgment lien;

- Signature of the judgment creditor or attorney.

A copy of SCAO form MC94 can be found at: Http://courts.Michigan.Gov/scao/courtforms/generalcivil/mc94.Pdf

Contact Jeffrey Bearss, L.P.A., at Weltman, Weinberg and Reis:

This form provides for the certified original to be returned to the judgment creditor for recording with the register of deeds. The clerk will also return 2 signed copies, one for the judgment creditor's records, one to be served on the judgment debtor, and retains one copy for the court records. The judgment creditor records the original with the register of deeds in the county where the debtor could own property. Once recorded, it is assigned a liber and page number and returned to the judgment creditor.

2. Enforcement

A judgment lien can not be foreclosed. Although, when real property is refinanced or sold, a title company searches the grantor/grantee index for liens. The title company confirms whether the owner is the judgment debtor by cross referencing the last 4 digits of the tax identification number or social security number. Once its confirmed, the title company will request a payoff letter from the holder of the judgment lien and the judgment creditor provides a recordable discharge immediately upon payment.

3. Renewal

MCL 600.2809 provides that judgment liens expire when the underlying judgment expires or five years from the date of recording, unless it is re-recorded with the register of deeds. A judgment lien may be renewed only one time and is accomplished by re-recording the judgment lien with the register of deeds not less than 4 months before the original expiration date. Its priority will continue from the date of the attachment of the original judgment lien.

Contact Jeffrey Bearss, L.P.A., at Weltman, Weinberg and Reis:

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