A lien is a legal claim against personal property to ensure a debt or loan is paid. Liens can be registered against a business as well as an individual. Tangible and intangible items (such as intellectual property or licences) can be used as collateral. Buying a used boat or car? Check for liens before you buy. If you purchase personal property with a registered lien placed against it, you will be responsible for paying off the loan. Liens also allow individuals to lend money based on the value and security of a debtor’s personal property. To search for liens against personal property before you buy, submit your search by mail to the BC Registry Services or make an appointment then visit a Service BC office. Currently, the cost for a title search is $10. You may also choose to hire the professional services of a title search agent.

What is a builders lien?

A builders lien differs from a personal property lien. In this case, liens can be registered against a construction project so contractors are paid what they are owed. Claimants can file a lien in the land title office up to 45 days after the construction project is completed or abandoned. After this deadline, claimants may lose their rights to secure payment of money owed to them.

Real estate – real property or land.

If you buy a new home before 45 days of its completion date, builders liens may be filed after you become the owner by persons not yet paid for their work. In this case, you will be responsible for paying these liens. This is just one reason why it’s advisable to protect yourself and seek legal services when purchasing property. Searches for liens on real property can be made through the Land Title Surveyor Authority online at Itsa.ca. and clicking on the Search for a Title link. The land title will list the owner’s names, parcel description, and PID (parcel identifier) with charges, liens and interests, if any, against the property. To search for a specific title, you’ll need the 9-digit PID number or a legal property description. What you want is a “clear land title” meaning the land you want to purchase is not burdened by liens or legal questions.
Questions? We invite you to call us (250) 494-6621 in Summerland BC to consult with one of our experienced lawyers.