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Kentucky Lien Search

A Kentucky lien search identifies or verifies the existence of a lien on a property, real estate or otherwise, in Kentucky. Lien searches are of utmost importance, especially when purchasing or renting a property, because of the possible financial implications that may arise against the buyer’s interests if unchecked.

In conducting a Kentucky lien search, a person may examine different public records provided at both the state and county levels.

What is a Lien in Kentucky

  • A lien in Kentucky is a public legal claim or charge against a person's property or their right to a property. According to Kentucky Revised Statutes (KRS 65.8835), liens may be imposed by a local government or by a court on a person who violates certain conditions like tax payment. The county clerk typically records Kentucky liens. In Kentucky,
  • The county clerk records liens.
  • A lien accrues interest until it is paid off.
  • Local government-imposed liens are superior to all other types except for state, county, school board, and city tax liens.
  • A lien will last ten years from the court's final lien judgement.
  • It may be enforced by judicial proceedings, including an action to foreclose.
  • The violator is responsible for the lien and all associated costs, including civil fines and fees.
  • The local government may bring a civil action against the person. It shall have the same remedies as provided to recover a debt.
  • The city will send a copy of the notice of the lien, which shall be mailed to the owner of the premises. If the town fails to mail a copy of the notice to the property owner or the owner doesn't receive it, it won't impact the city's ability to enforce its lien for the charges as per the law.

Types of Liens in Kentucky

As a matter of classification, a lien can be classified as voluntary or involuntary. Evident by its name, a voluntary lien is placed on a property by mutual agreement between the two parties, much like collateral. An involuntary lien attaches to a property without the owner's consent. For instance, a tax lien. Liens can also be classified as either general or specific liens. Types of liens in Kentucky include:

  • General Liens in Kentucky

In the case of general liens, a restriction is placed on all of a debtor's real estate, including vacant land and other properties, including cars, until they can satisfy their debt. An excellent example of this can be seen in tax liens. 

  • Specific Liens

As the name implies, specific liens are when a lien is against a particular property in contention. In that case, only that individual property may be used to collect against the debt. Examples of a specific lien include when a property is used as collateral for a loan or mortgage. In that case, the creditor may repossess that particular property. 

  • Consensual vs Involuntary Liens

A consensual or voluntary lien arises when a person voluntarily or contractually puts up their property as collateral. For instance, a person who wants a bank loan or mortgage on a vehicle or house places a voluntary lien on the property they purchase. If they cannot repay their debt, the lienholder seizes control of the liened property to pay off. However, once they clear their loan, the lien is automatically removed from the property. Voluntary liens often do not negatively affect properties or their title transfer ability.

However, involuntary liens are attached to property without the owner's indulgence. A typical example of this could be tax liens and mechanics lien where, if the debtor forfeits paying their debts, their creditor may seize their assets and sell them off to pay their debt even against their will.

  • Statutory Liens

Kentucky statutory liens are non-consensual or involuntary liens rights backed by state or federal law. Examples of Kentucky statutory liens include mechanics liens, tax liens judgement liens, Judgement liens, veterinary liens, child support liens, homeowner association liens, Medicaid program liens, penal code offenses liens, workers' compensation Liens, and so on.

What is a Tax Lien in Kentucky

A tax lien in Kentucky is a public claim against a taxpayer's property (for instance, home, business, accounts, and other real estate, boats, etc.) by the government for tax delinquency before and after the liens claim is filed (KRS 134.420. 131.515). 

A tax lien in Kentucky is a public record of how much a person or property owes in taxes. A lien's public record indicates that the asset or collateral can only be sold once the lien is released. Because it is a public record, a tax lien might affect one's ability to buy or sell real estate. It will likely also affect the owner's credit rating. When the lien is filed, the cost of relieving the lien is often added to the delinquent tax account. This cost might vary across different county offices.

Firstly, a taxpayer who has defaulted on their tax payment or filed but has not paid the correct tax liability will receive a Notice of Tax Due (a tax bill) from the Department of Revenue. Suppose they neglect or refuse to pay the total tax, penalty, interest, and fees due. In that case, the Department of Revenue collects and notifies them via a Notice of State Tax Lien filed in the county where the person's business or residence is located. This notice serves as both a public notice to the taxpayer's creditors and to establish priority status among the creditors.

Kentucky Tax Lien Search

A person conducting a Kentucky tax lien search should contact the county court clerk where the lien is filed. An interested person may do a Kentucky liens search either online or offline.

Online: Using the Kentucky UCC Tax Search tool. One can search uncertified tax liens by the name of the debtor or by the file number or request a certified search result. An interested person may also visit the county recorder's website to check if they have an online tax liens database. This service is only available in some counties.

Offline/In Person: BY visiting the county recorder's office in the county where the lien is filed with their request, one can conduct a tax lien search. Usually, the searcher must provide the name of the individual or business whose tax lien they are searching for.

Federal Tax Lien Search

The Internal Revenue Code (IRC § 6321) describes a federal tax lien as a legal claim over a person's property or business by the federal government owing to non-payment of taxes. Once filed, a tax lien abides on that property until the tax debt and any other related debts are satisfied, another agreement is reached, or the statute of limitation (10 years) expires on that lien. 

As per section 382.480, Kentucky includes federal liens in its UCC filings and issues notices of tax liens payable to the United States. In addition, the collector of internal revenue is required to file duplicate certificates that discharge such liens in the county clerk's office where the property subject to the lien is located.

Hence, suppose a person wants to conduct a federal tax lien lookup in Kentucky; they may:

  • Contact the County Clerk's office where the property is located.
  • Use the Secretary of State's index search or contact the Secretary of State's office.
  • Contact the IRS at (800) 829-8374 (self-employed), (800) 829-0922 (other individuals), or (800) 829-0922 (businesses) to learn more about unpaid property taxes and federal tax liens.
  • Contact the state recorder's office (Department of Revenue)
  • Use the IRS Automated Lien System database.
  • Use any private third-party database search services. 

What is a Lien on Property in Kentucky

A property lien is a legal liability on an asset that bestows the lienholder access to the property if the debts are unresolved. Personal or tangible property in Kentucky includes business furnishings and equipment, Coast Guard documented watercraft, aircraft, manufacturing machinery, inventories, materials and supplies, artwork, antiques, coin collections, and construction equipment, etc. but it excludes all household goods and personal effects, like furniture and appliances. While judgement liens in Kentucky only cover real estate property, other liens, such as a lien on jewelry and mechanics liens, are covered under the state legislature.

Who can put a lien on a property?

In Kentucky, parties entitled to put a lien on a property, including anybody that a property owner owes a legal or financial obligation, either by contract or constitutionally, can put a lien on their Kentucky property. The courts, creditors, contractors, and tax authorities then fix these liens on the property.

How to put a lien on property in Kentucky

The procedure for putting a lien on property in Kentucky will depend on the type of lien considered. Yet, the standard formalities for placing a lien on someone's property in Kentucky will require the creditor to carry out the following procedures:

  • Secure a Preliminary Notice (376.010 ). For instance, Kentucky lien law requires a contract with or written consent from the owner, contractor, subcontractor, architect, or authorized agent to file a mechanics lien.
  • Review Deadlines. In Kentucky, mechanics lien claimants have six months from the last labor or material provision date to file a lien claim.
  • Research the Property. By carrying out a title search, one can verify the property owner and acquire a legal description of the property from the deed.
  • Draft a Lien Statement. After completing the necessary research, the creditor may draft the lien document, which must include the name and address of the lien claimant, the property owner's name, the amount owed to the claimant, and a description of the property that is "sufficiently accurate to identify it." The lien statement must be notarized.
  • File the lien at the county clerk's office where the property is situated. The filing fee ranges from around $25 to $30.
  • Send a lien notification to the concerned parties. After filing a lien with the county clerk in Kentucky, the claimant must send a copy of the lien statement to the property owner's last known address within seven days. The copy can be sent through regular U.S. mail. Not complying with this requirement may impact the validity of the lien.
  • Enforce the Lien. After the lien is filed, the lienholder may file a lawsuit to sell or foreclose the property if the debt is not paid. In Kentucky, claimants filing a lien on private projects must initiate the lien enforcement not later than 12 months from the filing date of the lien claim (376.090(1)).

How to Find a Lien on Property in Kentucky

To find liens on a property in Kentucky, an individual may:

  • Visit the County Recorder's Office, which maintains public property records, including property, liens, and deeds. They are accessible online through the county's official website or in person
  • Request a Property Report from the county recorder's office for a property report or abstract of title. This report will list any liens, encumbrances, or legal claims against the property.
  • Examine the Property Deed: Review the deed to check for existing liens. Liens are often recorded alongside property deeds, and the information will indicate if there are any debts associated with the property.
  • Check with a Title Company: Consider enlisting the services of a title company, especially when buying a property. Title companies conduct comprehensive title searches to identify liens, easements, or other issues that may affect the property's title.

Property Lien Search By Address

Mostly, government agencies do not index liens by address. However, filling in an individual's or organization's name, filing number, and any other required fields returns lien results that include the property's address.

Anyone who wants to check Kentucky liens by address may use third-party online services, which are often fee-based.

Free Lien Search on Property

Free lien searches on properties in Kentucky are possible using the online tools provided by the county recorder's office or the state's UCC portal. Otherwise, the person may visit the county recorder's office and request to inspect the records. While inspection is free, obtaining copies will come at a fee.

What is a Mechanics Lien in Kentucky?

Define what a mechanics lien is in Kentucky.

Explain the purpose and significance of mechanics liens per Kentucky law.

A mechanic's lien is a legal protection for builders, contractors, and subcontractors who work on a property but don't receive payment for their services. In such cases, these parties can file a "mechanics lien" on the property under the guidelines of § 376.010 et. seq. This lien guarantees they will be paid for their work before the property can be sold or refinanced.

For a mechanics lien to be valid, it must be recorded in the county where the job is physically located.

Legal requirements for a Kentucky mechanics lien are found under KRS §376.080(1). The required information includes:

  • The amount claimed (which must not exceed the contract price)
  • The name and address of the claimant, or if it is an organization, the name and address of the corporation's process agent
  • The owner's name (if known)
  • Name, address, and role of the person in charge of hiring
  • A description of the property with sufficient information for identification
  • Sworn and subscribed to by the claimant.

If possible, the claimant should also include information about the materials or labor they provided and their last date of labor or materials supply for the project.

Persons that may file a mechanic lien in Kentucky include:

The parties who are entitled to file a mechanics lien in Kentucky are as follows:

  • Subcontractors
  • Prime contractors
  • Sub-subcontractors
  • Material Suppliers
  • Equipment Lessors
  • Licensed Design Professionals (Architects, Engineers, Surveyors)

Kentucky law requires notarizing mechanics lien for it to be valid and accepted for recording.

Kentucky Mechanics Lien Search 

The process of searching for Kentucky mechanics liens is quite similar to those mentioned earlier. Any person who wants to conduct a Kentucky mechanics lien search should consult the County recorder's office to check if there are any mechanics attached to any of their properties. They can do this by in-person visits or online on the county recorder's website. Some counties also use KRS § 65.8836 to provide information on lienholder notifications where one may see the type of lien in which their property is held.

What is a Mortgage Lien in Kentucky?

A mortgage is a legal encumbrance on real property placed as collateral to secure a debt. It gives the lender a claim to a property until a debt is paid. Kentucky law requires a mortgage to be filed and recorded along with related documents.

Aside from making the sale of a property difficult, a mortgage lien on real property will also affect the property's title and may result in some losses for the lienee, even if they sell off the property to pay off their debt.

What is a UCC Lien in Kentucky?

A UCC lien is a type of lien that lenders add to a business credit report, notifying other lenders that the business has used certain assets to secure a small-business loan. This way, a lienee cannot use the same assets to secure multiple loans. In Kentucky, creditors can file two types of UCC liens:

  • Specific collateral lien. With this type of lien, the creditor only claims a specific asset.
  • Blanket lien. This type of lien is also called an all-asset lien and gives the lender the right to seize a broader range of assets in the event of payment defaulting.

UCC Lien Search Kentucky.

UCC lien searches in Kentucky might be done by checking a loan agreement to determine whether the company is authorized to file a lien. Alternatively, one can search the UCC Index search and provide the necessary information, including the company's name…

What is a Lien Title in Kentucky

According to 186A.195, a lien title statement is a document the creditor party submits to the county clerk. Post submission, the clerk uses the information in a lien title statement to mark the lienholder's security interest on a title certificate, per KRS 186A.190(9). A title lien statement may or may not be available to the general public, per the clerk's discretion. A perfect example of a lien title can be seen in motor vehicles.

Kentucky Title Lien Search

Kentucky vehicle title lien search can be done:

  • Through the Online Vehicle Information System (OVIS): The OVIS provides access to Kentucky vehicles' owner, title, registration, and lien information. In collaboration with the Kentucky Transportation Cabinet governed by the Federal Driver's Privacy Protection Act of 2000 (DPPA), the Online Vehicle Information System (OVIS) also provides online access to Kentucky vehicle owner, title, lien, and registration records in collaboration with the. OVIS users must subscribe to search title liens showing a vehicle owner's name, title information, registration, lien address and information, etc.
  • By contacting the County Clerk's office, where the vehicle's title and registration were processed, or the Kentucky Transportation Cabinet

Free Title Lien Search in Kentucky

Kentucy's OVIS system does not offer free title lien searches. Instead, one must pay a standard fee (for minimal benefits) or a premium fee (for added benefits).

What is a Judgement Lien in Kentucky 

A judgement lien is a court order permitting a creditor to take possession of their debtor's real estate or personal property to recover a debt. When a court rules a judgement lien, it means that the lienholder may repossess the debtor's property, including their business, and sell it and use the proceeds to pay off their debt KY. Rev. Stat. § 426.720

Kentucky Judgement Lien Search

To discover a judgement lien delivered in Kentucky, the individual concerned may visit the court clerk where the order was passed and request the records. Otherwise, an interested individual might contact the county clerk's office to request lien records attached to their names.

Finally, one may perform a Kentucky judgement search using the county or UCC online liens index portal.

How to Get a Lien Release in Kentucky 

A lien release is a document that absolves oneself or property from the encumbrance of a lien. The procedure for a lien release will vary depending on the type of lien that one is bound by. Say, the lien was attached as a result of debt. In that case, the debtor may obtain a release by paying off their debt.

To obtain a release from liens owing to unpaid property taxes, the lienee must file a lien release form, satisfying all requirements.

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