Lien Definition and Legal Meaning

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

What is Lien?

(n) Lien is the authority of the person holding or otherwise in custody or control of an article or property, rights etc, to use them for recovering the amount payable to him by the owner of such assets, property or rights. There are different type and functional lien like a landlords lien on the property of tenant left over the rented property. Lien other than government lien is enforceable in the order its occurrence

History and Meaning of Lien

The legal term "Lien" has its roots in the French language, where it means a "tie" or "binding." A lien is a legal claim against someone else's property, usually as collateral for a debt or other obligation owed by the property owner. The holder of the lien has the right to take possession of the property if the debt is not paid back, and may be entitled to sell it to recover the debt.

Examples of Lien

  1. A contractor who performs work on a homeowner's property may file a lien to secure payment if they are not paid by the homeowner for the work performed.
  2. If a person obtains a loan using their car as collateral, the lender will have a lien on the car until the loan is paid back in full.
  3. A landlord may have a lien on a tenant's property if the tenant is behind on rent payments.

Legal Terms Similar to Lien

  1. Mortgage - Similar to a lien, a mortgage is a legal claim against property used as collateral for a loan.
  2. Encumbrance - A broad term that refers to any claim against a property that limits the owner's ability to use or sell it.
  3. Judgment - A legal ruling that may result in a lien being filed against a debtor's property.