How to Contest a Lien

A lien can be placed on property for unpaid debts.
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Liens are a way for homeowners' associations, contractors or local governments to collect on debts owed by property owners. After allowing a period of time for the property owner to respond to a preliminary notice, the entity seeking to collect may attach a lien. In effect, this action prevents the sale of the property until the debt is paid. This timetable also gives little recourse for property owners in any attempt to contest the lien in court, since the debt is verified prior to the lien attachment.

Contact the county recorder's office to establish whether a lien has been filed on property you own.

Prepare a Notice of Contest of Lien and submit it to the recorder's office. This action generally starts a very short timeframe, as little as 30 to 90 days, for the claimant to pursue foreclosure of the lien in court.

Read More: How to Enforce a Lien

Confirm filing deadlines are met by the entity attempting to the collect on the debt. If not, then ensure the lien has expired according to applicable state law.


  • Generally, collectors have a number of years to potentially act on a lien. Filing a Notice of Contest may cause the lien to be acted upon immediately and require settlement of the debt sooner, rather than later.