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Louisiana Court Records

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Louisiana Lien Search

A Louisiana lien search is a process undertaken by state residents to ascertain the presence of any liens on a property or real estate within state limits. This investigation involves a thorough examination of property records to uncover any encumbrances, inaccurate records, bankruptcy filings, or potential fraudulent activities associated with the property.

Louisiana lien searches help inquirers to:

  • Confirm the legal ownership of a property,
  • Disclose any existing liens that may affect the property,
  • Provide a comprehensive legal description of the property.

In Louisiana, lien search options are provided by various departments and offices at the state and county levels. This includes the Louisiana Secretary of State, the Louisiana Department of Revenue and Louisiana Parish Clerks Offices.

What is a Lien in Louisiana?

A Louisiana lien is a legally recognized claim on personal or real property that serves as collateral to secure a debt. A lien grants the holder rightful entitlement to the asset. Remedial actions available to the lienholder in case of non-payment include filing a lawsuit against the owner, initiating foreclosure proceedings, or seizing the property. Liens can be imposed on assets and property in the event of non-payment of loans, taxes, or mortgages. The provisions for the establishment and imposition of liens are as outlined in RS 38:2242 of Louisiana law.

Types of Liens in Louisiana

In Louisiana, liens are categorized based on the nature of the property they encumber, the authority that establishes them, and the breadth of assets they encompass. Some types of liens in Louisiana include:

  • Federal Tax Liens
  • State Tax Liens
  • Mortgage Liens
  • Mechanics or Construction Liens
  • UCC Liens

These liens can be further classified into voluntary (consensual) and involuntary categories. Voluntary liens are established through mutual agreement, while involuntary liens are imposed without the property owner's consent.

Here's a breakdown of some significant types:

Judgment Lien

When a debtor fails to satisfy a court judgment, a creditor can secure a judgment lien on the debtor's assets. This empowers the creditor to compel the sale of the property to settle the debt.

Property Tax Lien

Unpaid property taxes can lead to the government placing a lien on the real estate. This allows the government to auction the property to recover the outstanding taxes.

Mechanic's Lien

Mechanic's liens safeguard suppliers, contractors, or subcontractors who have provided labor or materials for property improvements but have yet to receive payment. It grants them a claim on the property until they are compensated.

Mortgage Lien: 

Lenders typically secure a mortgage lien when financing real estate purchases. If the borrower defaults on payments, the lender can initiate foreclosure proceedings to recoup the outstanding debt.

General Liens:

A general lien in Louisiana is a claim that extends to all or specific assets of a debtor, which may be liquidated to settle outstanding debts. An illustrative example is a federal tax lien, which casts a broad impact on all the property owned by an individual who defaults on their federal tax payments.

Specific Liens:

In contrast, a specific lien targets a particular piece of property, and the obligation associated with it can only be satisfied by recourse to that specific asset. For instance, when a contractor enters into a contract for construction work, the resulting mechanic lien is specific to the building upon which the work was performed. Similarly, a mortgage lien is confined to the property that is mortgaged.

Consensual vs. Involuntary Liens:

Consensual liens, also known as voluntary liens, arise from agreements between creditors and debtors. Common examples include mortgage liens and auto loans, where the debtor willingly grants a security interest in the property. On the other hand, involuntary liens, such as judgment and tax liens, are imposed on property without the owner's consent.

Statutory Liens:

Statutory liens are involuntary liens established by law to provide a legal framework for securing commitments or debts and safeguarding the rights of both debtors and property owners. These liens include examples like tax liens on real estate.

What is a Tax Lien in Louisiana?

According to Title 47 of the Louisiana Revised Statutes, a tax lien is a legal claim against property for unpaid taxes. Louisiana state law establish that whenever any tax is imposed, an immediate and direct tax lien attaches to the property upon which the tax is imposed. Tax liens may be enforced by distraint and sale of the property upon which the tax lien exists, in the same manner as provided for distraint and sale of personal property for the collection of delinquent taxes due to the State. However, Section 2141 of Title 47 allows the taxpayer or any other person interested in the property to redeem it from the sale by paying the amount of taxes due, plus any penalties, interest, and costs.

Are Tax Liens Public Records in Louisiana?

Yes, Louisiana liens are typically recorded as public records, making information about a taxpayer's unpaid taxes and the associated lien accessible to the public. This public record status can affect the taxpayer's creditworthiness and financial standing, potentially making securing loans or engaging in certain financial transactions more challenging.

Louisiana Tax Lien Search

In Louisiana, tax liens are usually recorded with the clerk(s) of the court of the Parish where the debtor/creditor is resident and/or the property is situated. Thus, a Louisiana tax lien search may be performed by querying the clerk of court in the relevant Parish or using the Search Tax Documents Tool provided by the Louisiana Division of Administration.

Clerks of Court usually offer inquirers the option to search tax lien information using their online resources or by querying the office in person or via mail. For instance, the East Baton Rouge Parish Clerk of Court provides an online platform where inquirers can search for property-related information by the owner's name or the document number. On the other hand, tax lien searches conducted on the OSL platform may be done with any of the following parameters:

  • Document Type
  • Doc ID Number 
  • Title of Volume
  • Parish
  • Tax Year
  • Item Number 
  • Document Date
  • Taxpayer/Debtor

Access to these online databases may cost between $20 to $780 at the county level, depending on the user's preferred subscription option. Documents are also duplicated for interested requesters at $0.60 per page.

Federal Tax Lien Search

A Federal Tax Lien search involves investigating real estate or property to ascertain whether unpaid federal taxes have resulted in a lien. The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) imposes this penalty on U.S. taxpayers who neglect or refuse to settle their federal tax debt.

The specific locations where federal tax liens are documented are outlined in state statutes. In Louisiana, liens related to real estate are filed in the county where the property is situated. Conversely, federal tax liens affecting personal property are recorded in the taxpayer's home county.

To conduct a federal lien lookup, individuals can visit the county recorder's office or the parish court clerk in the concerned judicial district. Additionally, inquiries about federal liens can be made by contacting the IRS Centralized Lien Operation at 800-913-6050 or via e-fax at 855-390-3530. 

What is a Lien on Property in Louisiana?

In Louisiana, property liens signify a legal interest held by a governmental entity or an individual in a debtor's property. This interest is a safeguard, ensuring the repayment of the debtor's obligations or loans. A Louisiana property lien can prevent the sale of a property and the retention of proceeds until the associated debt is settled.

Who Can Put A Lien On A Property?

In Louisiana, any creditor owed money has the option to establish a property lien through. This involves presenting a case in court, demonstrating the debt owed, and establishing that the property was utilized as collateral for a loan. Entities with the authority to impose a property lien include:

  • State and federal agencies.
  • Financial institutions.
  • Tax authorities.
  • Contractors or subcontractors involved in the improvement or development of real estate.

How To Put A Lien On Property In Louisiana

The State of Louisiana recognizes three distinct categories of property liens: possessory, landlord, and mechanics liens. When a tenant fails to make full payment for a rented property, a possessory lien is utilized by the party asserting title or possession. Landlord's liens come into play when tenants neglect to pay for goods or services related to their lease. Meanwhile, a mechanics lien serves as a legal tool to secure payment for services rendered during property building, remodeling, or repair.

While the process for filing these liens may vary slightly, the standard procedure involves the following steps:

  1. Complete the Claim of Lien form, ensuring it includes all specific information about the lien. Provide a detailed property description for permanent and clear identification, and comply with state law R.S. 9:4806(B) by including information about the property owner.
  2. File the Claims of Lien with the Office of the Clerk of Courts in the Parish where the property is located or the Louisiana Secretary of State's office.
  3. Officially notify the property owner of the lien by delivering a letter along with a copy of the lien claim.
  4. Fulfill all required filing fees and associated costs to complete the lien filing process.

How to Find a Lien on Property in Louisiana

To initiate a Louisiana property lien search, start by visiting the county clerk's or county recorder's office in the specific county where the property is situated. These offices house dedicated recording departments responsible for maintaining a thorough database of property liens filed within the county. Requestors should furnish the property address to commence the search.

Additionally, individuals can access lien information online by perusing the tax records database administered by the Division of Administration in Louisiana. For state-owned properties, the SLABS (State Lands and Building Systems) database is a valuable resource for uncovering pertinent lien information.

Property Lien Search By Address

Finding liens by property address involves reviewing public records, primarily managed by the Clerk of Court offices in Louisiana. There are various options available to interested requesters:

Online Tools

Many Parish Clerk of Court offices provide online tools with which inquirers can search for property liens. These tools are often designed for name searches rather than address searches. Where available, users can input the property address in the provided search box.

In-Person Requests

 If online tools do not support address-based searches, individuals can visit the Clerk of Court office in person. Upon arriving at the office, they can request to search for liens on a specific property using its address. Clerk of Court staff members can assist with accessing the necessary records and providing pertinent information necessary to process the search.

Title Search Companies & Legal Professionals 

Inquirers may consider hiring title search companies or legal professionals to search for liens by property address. Most professionals/companies have access to extensive databases and resources, which can streamline the search process.

Third-Party Online Services

Several third-party websites offer property lien search services for a fee. These platforms may provide access to databases containing lien information sourced from public records.

The cost of conducting a property lien search can vary depending on the method chosen. However, hiring a title search company typically incurs a more substantial cost. Depending on their involvement, legal professionals may charge an hourly rate or a flat fee for assisting with property lien searches. The cost of using third-party online services for property lien searches varies, with some platforms offering subscription-based models or charging per search fee.

Free Lien Search on Property

In Louisiana, a free lien search can be performed by directly querying the custodian's office. County recorder and Parish Clerk offices process in-person requests for lien information and may allow inquirers to view the required details at no cost. However, requesters requiring physical documents may be required to pay a nominal fee to cover the cost of reproduction.

What is a Mechanics Lien in Louisiana?

A mechanic's lien is a type of legal claim that Louisiana suppliers, subcontractors, or contractors can place on a property to protect themselves against debt owed for labor, materials, or services rendered for real estate development. The laws governing mechanics' liens are found in the Louisiana Construction Lien Act (MCLA). Mechanics liens simply ensure that people who provide labor or supplies for the building, remodeling, or repair of real estate are paid for their work.

Louisiana Mechanics Lien Search 

To conduct a mechanic's lien search in Louisiana, individuals should first identify the Parish where the property is situated. They can then proceed by visiting the office of the parish recorder, where they can request access to the mechanic's lien records. Typically, this may involve filling out an information request form. Additionally, some parishes provide convenient online resources for accessing lien information remotely, offering an efficient alternative for those unable to visit the office in person.

What is a Mortgage Lien in Louisiana?

According to Louisiana State Legislature R.S. 9:5550, a mortgage lien is defined as security for loan repayment and is also referred to as a collateral mortgage lien. By putting a lien on the property, the creditor gives itself a legal claim to it and the authority to take it if the borrower defaults on the loan.

In Louisiana, mortgage liens are normally filed with the parish registration of deeds office within the Parish where the property is situated. By officially acknowledging their interest in the property and recording the mortgage lien, the lender can get priority rights against other creditors and prospective buyers. When it comes to claims against a property, mortgage liens typically have priority over other liens.

What is a UCC Lien in Louisiana?

In Louisiana, a UCC-1 lien is a document that functions as a lien on business property as part of a business loan, producing proof that a debtor and a secured party have engaged in or plan to engage in a secured loan transaction using specified collateral as security. UCC lien laws that govern Louisiana is an adoption of Uniform Commercial Code (UCC) Revised Article 9.

Members of the public may submit an Original Financing Statement (UCC-1) to any one of the 64 Parish filing offices located throughout the State. All 64 filing officers have access to the statewide database, which is managed and maintained by the Secretary of State's Office.

UCC Lien Search Louisiana

A UCC lien search in Louisiana can be performed by submitting a request for a certified search in writing to one of the Clerk of Court offices where the financial statements for that lien are held. Inquirers may also search the Secretary of State UCC database using a debtor's name. To conduct a UCC lien search in Louisiana:

  • Go to the Louisiana Secretary of State UCC search portal;
  • Search For the county where the clerk of the court is located and navigate to the website of that clerk;
  • Go to the documents section of the clerk's website and perform a search using a debtor's name;
  • Pay the required fee to complete the search.

Alternatively, inquirers may contact the office of the Louisiana Secretary of State or fill out and submit the direct service application form. Then proceed to

  • Register for an annual subscription to the state UCC database
  • Go to the Louisiana Secretary of State financial statements search portal
  • Log in using an assigned user I.D. and password

The search costs $30 for each debtor's name. Subscriptions to the Louisiana UCC database are available from the Secretary of State for $400 a year. A subscription value gets the subscriber unlimited searches.

What is a Lien Title in Louisiana?

A lien title in Louisiana serves as insurance coverage for a property owner, safeguarding against the risk of not receiving full payment for goods or services provided. With regard to auto loans, a lien grants the lienholder the authority to repossess the vehicle if the debtor defaults on payments. Once the vehicle loan is satisfied, the new owner can obtain a lien-free title from the Louisiana Office of Motor Vehicles (OMV) by removing the lien.

Louisiana Title Lien Search

A Louisiana vehicle title lien search is typically conducted when purchasing a used car. This search provides prospective buyers with comprehensive information about a vehicle being sold, including whether it is still encumbered by a lien. 

Free Title Lien Search in Louisiana

The Louisiana DMV offers a complimentary lien title search to interested parties. Individuals can verify the authenticity of a vehicle title issued by the department by visiting the Louisiana Office of Motor Vehicles website. This search involves checking the title date and confirming the final six digits of the vehicle identification number (VIN). Additionally, several third-party websites offer free title searches for vehicles and properties.

What is a Judgement Lien in Louisiana?

A judgment lien in Louisiana is a lawful claim that a creditor can assert against a debtor's property after obtaining a court judgment for unpaid debt. It empowers the creditor to utilize the debtor's assets, such as personal belongings, real estate, or other valuables, as collateral for the outstanding loan.

One significant consequence of a judgment lien is its impact on the debtor's assets, including restrictions on selling, refinancing, or transferring property while the lien is active. In case of default, judgment liens prioritize the creditor's claim, providing them with various legal avenues to enforce repayment, such as placing liens on real estate or initiating foreclosure proceedings.

Louisiana Judgement Lien Search

In Louisiana, judgment liens are public records accessible through the parish Register of Deeds office. Individuals can conduct a judgment lien search by contacting the recorder's office in the Parish where the property is located. These offices typically provide public access terminals for conducting free records searches. Searching the Uniform Commercial Code (UCC) database is another alternative to identifying judgment liens against personal property.

How to Get a Lien Release in Louisiana 

A lien release in Louisiana is a document that proves that a lien has been paid off and the property now has a clear title. When the tax, fines, and interest have been paid, a lien may be canceled per Louisiana Revised Statute 47:15. A lien release is a document that releases or eliminates a lien from real estate. When a lien is paid off, the new property owner is issued a satisfaction of the lien document.

A lender must give a recordable lien release document once the debt is repaid. The lien release paperwork must be filed with the same county office that initially filed the lien information. In Louisiana, a lien holder must remove their lien from their public records by filling out a Release of Lien form with their identity and property information, signing and dating it to certify the release, and filing it with the parish clerk's office along with the required filing costs. By doing this, the lien on the property will be formally released, and proof that the loan has been settled will be provided.

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