Encumbrance Definition and Legal Meaning

On this page, you'll find the legal definition and meaning of Encumbrance, written in plain English, along with examples of how it is used.

What is Encumbrance?

(incumbrance)n. a general term for any claim or lien on a parcel of real property. These include: mortgages, deeds of trust, recorded abstracts of judgment, unpaid real property taxes, tax liens, mechanic’s liens, easements and water or timber rights. While the owner has title, any encumbrance is usually on record (with the County Recorder or Recorder of Deeds) and must be paid for at some point.