American Bottoms files property liens if bills generated at a property go unpaid. Liens attach debt to a property for unpaid services or purchases. In essence, once a lien is filed against a property it will reduce the equity in that property. The value of the lien grows as interest on the unpaid debt is applied each month. An unpaid lien originally valued at hundreds of dollars can grow to thousands of dollars over the years.
Liens are against the property, not an individual. However, individuals may have difficulty selling properties that have outstanding liens against them.
When a sale is about to take place, a title company will do a title search to see if there are any liens on the property. The title company will search public records to get this information. A buyer will want liens to be paid off before buying the property.
If you buy a home without doing a title search, you may find out later that the property has a lien on it. The rule still applies. The lien follows the property regardless of the owner. This is often the case when property changes ownership through “Quit Claim Deeds.” We strongly advise you to always do a title search, regardless of how you are purchasing property.
If you have a lien and would like it released, call Customer Accounts at (618) 337-9000 for your lien balance. Once this is paid, we’ll send you a lien release letter. Take this letter to the St. Clair County Courthouse Recorder of Deeds Office to have the lien formally released. This entire process can take several weeks unless the payment is made by cash or money order.