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How to get a lien off of my property?

Yakima, WA |
Filed under: Lien

I filed chapter 7 in 2005. I was days away from signing on my refinance when the tilte company called my and said I had a lien on my property for a debt that was discharged in the bankruptcy? How do I get it off and why is in there? The knew I was filing. (it's a credit card company)

Attorney Answers 3


If they have a lien against your property they must have obtained a judgment against you. Assuming the lien was recorded prior to you filing your bankruptcy case, the lien survives the bankruptcy. Whether you can remove it or not depends on whether or not the lien impaired an exemption to which you were entitled on the date your case was filed. This requires an analysis of the value of your home, the amount owed on the mortgages senior to the judgment lien, and the exemption laws applicable to your case.

You need an attorney to do this. Assuming the numbers work out, you can then seek to reopen your case to file a motion to avoid the lien pursuant to 11 USC 522(f).

Mark J. Markus, Attorney at Law

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I agree, you need a good lawyer to examine your specific facts and the timeline of the lien to determine its legitimacy and whether lien avoidance is possible.

Disclaimer: This post is general in nature and does not constitute legal advice. Likewise, it does not create an attorney-client relationship. Do not act, fail to act or otherwise rely on this post. Consult a licensed attorney in your jurisdiction.

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Your question does not specify that the property you were attempting to finance is and always was your principal residence. If it has always been your principal residence, it would automatically be your homestead property. To properly obtain a judgment lien against your homestead property in Washington the credit card company would have had to both obtain the judgment and to record the judgment before your bankruptcy case was filed. If it was not your principal residence when the judgment was entered, the creditor would not need to record the judgment for it to be come a lien against the property.

Your question also does not say whether the judgment was obtained and recorded before your bankruptcy case was filed. This information is critical to choosing the right course of action.

If the credit card company properly obtained the lien against your homestead before your bankruptcy case was filed, then you may still be able to reopen the case to avoid the lien if it impaired an available exemption. You would almost certainly need an attorney to reopen the case to avoid the lien, although you may want to ask any attorney who helped you with your case in 2005 why this was not done back when the case was pending.

However, if the credit card company obtained a judgment against you after your bankruptcy case was filed, then you may have a claim against the creditor for violating the bankruptcy law. You'll still need an attorney to help you, but in this case you will likely build the recover attorney fees and costs from the creditor as well as some damages. You would likely need an attorney to help you with this as well, but the ultimate burden of the expense might be on the creditor.

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