How to File a Lien in Tennessee

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A lien is when the court puts a hold on a person's property, as a way of forcing that person to pay a legal debt. If you have a judgment against someone -- a legal ruling that states a person owes you money -- then you can put a lien on that person's personal property. This is usually only used as a way of ensuring that you get paid, and a payment meeting should be had before you go to filing a lien.

Take your judgment to the land records office, to the county clerk's office or to the court clerk's office where you won your judgment. Request the necessary forms to file a lien on the debtor's property.

Fill out the lien forms. Each jurisdiction in Tennessee will have it's own rules and laws, but in general you will need the information contained in your judgment, including the name and information of the debtor, case number for the judgment and your own personal information. You will also need to detail other attempts to secure payments, and your reason for attempting to secure a lien on the debtor's property.

File the forms with the clerk and pay the filing fee. The lien forms will be reviewed by the court, and another hearing will be called where both sides make a case for and against the lien. If the debtor has been making regular payments and abiding by terms of the agreement then a lien might be denied, but if the debtor isn't paying what is owed, then chances are good the court will grant the lien.


  • Some courts have online forms that you can file for a lien. Search the courthouse's website before you begin, or ask the clerk if there is an online filing method.


  • Get an attorney to help represent you. If you're really determined to collect your debt then a lawyer that knows the law in and out for liens and civil suits is an invaluable ally.



About the Author

Neal Litherland is an author, blogger and occasional ghostwriter. His experience includes comics, role playing games and a variety of other projects as well. He holds a bachelor's degree in criminal justice from Indiana University, and resides in Northwest Indiana.

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