Individuals that have won a small claim against a defendant are responsible for collecting on the claim. The court will provide the paperwork needed to force payment. You have several options to collect your money. One means of collecting payment is by placing a lien on the debtor's property. The property may be a home, automobile, boat or other item of value. When property has a lien it can not be be sold or refinanced without the lien being satisfied. If the lien is not satisfied you can take further legal action to force the sale of the property.
Send a collection letter to the debtor informing him that a lien will be placed on his property if the claim is not satisfied. Include payment options and the date the lien will be filed if payment is not received. If you do not receive payment, send a final notice by certified mail.
Obtain an Abstract of Judgment form EJ-001 from the Riverside County Clerks office or print it from their website. You will need to have the case file number from the original judgment on hand when you fill out the form. The information required for the form will be specific to your case. Fill out the form. If you need additional help with the EJ-001 contact the Riverside county Small Claims Legal Adviser by telephone, toll free at: 1-800-244-8898 or (951) 683-3700 By fax: (951) 683-1749, or By E-mail at: firstname.lastname@example.org
File the lien with the county clerk in the county that the debtor owns property. You may mail the form or take it to the clerk's office. There will be a filing fee associated with the Abstract of Judgment form. The fee may be different depending on the county the defendant resides in.
A lien cannot be filed unless you have won a previous claim against the debtor. If the lien is satisfied by the debtor you must file a Acknowledgement of Satisfaction Judgment, form EJ-100 with the court. You must mail or take a certified copy of it to the county recorder's office where the lien is filed nad have the lien removed.
A lien is a lengthy process in which you may not see the money for years. It should be a last resort. If the lien is not satisfied pursue further legal action by seizing or forcing sale of property.
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