What is a Lien in Oklahoma?
An Oklahoma lien is a security that guarantees the fulfillment of an obligation or performance of an act. Creditors file liens against debtors' assets; a creditor may file a lien against a debtor's assets as security for the fulfillment of a financial obligation. The lien grants the creditor a legal claim to the debtor's assets. If the debtor cannot repay the debt or satisfy an obligation, the creditor may take possession of the debtor's assets, foreclose, and sell them to recover the debt or payment. Liens typically apply to real property; however, liens also affect other types of assets, such as livestock, minerals, aircraft, attorneys, and artisans. Liens have differing effects on different categories.
In Oklahoma, there are general liens and specific liens; a specific lien applies to particular assets, while a general lien applies to all of a debtor's assets. A creditor may only take possession of a defaulting debtor's particular asset with a specific lien, even if the asset does not make up the value of the amount owed. However, with a general lien, a creditor may take possession of as many of the debtor's assets as will make up the debt or outstanding payment. The Oklahoma Lien Law outlines the state's provisions on lien establishment, and Oklahoma courts issue the judicial orders required to enforce liens within state limits.
Are Liens Public in Oklahoma
In Oklahoma, liens are public records according to Oklahoma’s Public Records Laws. These liens generally remain public records until they are satisfied (paid off) or released by the lienholder. After that, the lienholder or debtor can file a release or satisfaction document with the county clerk's office, which will then update the public record to reflect the change in lien status. Additionally, some liens may become unenforceable after a certain period due to statutes of limitations, but this does not automatically remove them from the public record. To have a lien removed from the public record, a release or satisfaction document must still be filed with the county clerk's office.
Types of Lien in Oklahoma
There are various types of liens depending on the nature and subject of the debt. They include mortgage liens, tax liens, judgment liens, UCC (Uniform Commercial Code) liens, and mechanics liens.
In Oklahoma, liens are either general or specific, voluntary or involuntary. Liens are general when the lienholder is entitled to any property of the lienee as security for the performance of an obligation. A general lien is not attached to a specific piece of property but is attached to any of the debtor's assets. In contrast, a specific lien is attached to a specific asset, i.e., an asset is specifically offered as security in exchange for the loan or credit. This also implies that a creditor with a specific lien is limited to the value of the specific asset. When a debtor fails to make payments, they can't go after the lienor's unrelated assets.
A voluntary lien is established when a lienee consents to use their property to secure a loan. Anytime a piece of property is financed with a loan, it gives the creditor a voluntary right to a lien. A mortgage arrangement is a common type of voluntary lien. In contrast, involuntary liens are established without the property owner's consent - examples include a judgment or mechanics liens.
How Do I Check for Lien in Oklahoma?
In Oklahoma, residents searching for liens information on real estate properties can go to the county clerk or record office where the property is located and request to search the title of the deed. The party can examine the actual record or obtain copies. However, requestors will be required to cover the cost of copies.
Free Lien Search in Oklahoma
Interested persons may search for liens in Oklahoma by querying relevant government agencies. This search can be performed using the state online search tools provided on the official website or a visit to the courthouse or other county buildings. The information retrieved from such websites may include:
- The name and address of the lienee
- The name and address of the lienholder
- The type of lien contract
- Document or file number
- Filing date
- Lien statute ( If active, released, or expired)
- The lien expiry date
The Oklahoma County Clerk's Office advises the public to visit the Clerk's office to review the actual records, which are available for inspection and reproduction as information available online may not be official/complete.
What is a Property Lien in Oklahoma?
Oklahoma property liens are security interests that a creditor holds over a debtor's property. The lien gives the creditor a legal claim to the debtor's property, and the creditor may foreclose or sell the debtor's property to recover the outstanding amount or obligation. A liened property is a collateral for the debt; it assures the creditor that the creditor's interests are protected and that the debtor will meet the agreed obligation. There are different property liens, including child support liens, mortgage liens, property tax liens, and Home Owners Association liens.
A debtor may find it difficult to transfer or sell a liened property because a lien transfers with the property. Interested and eligible creditors may file a lien in Oklahoma with the county clerk in the county where the debtor has or is likely to have property.
How Do You Know if a Property Has a Lien in Oklahoma?
The process for determining whether a property has a lien in Oklahoma varies with the type of lien in question. Where voluntary liens are concerned, the property owner should be aware since the agreement was contracted with their consent.
A property charged with a lien cannot be sold, so a lienee may discover an involuntary lien when deciding to transfer or sell the property.
Interested persons can know if a property has a lien in Oklahoma in two ways:
Requestors can visit the County Clerk's Office or the Oklahoma Courthouse, where the land deeds of its residents are recorded. Alternatively, they can perform an online search using the official resources maintained by the local county repositories or third-party aggregate sites.
Property Lien Search by Address in Oklahoma
An inquirer can check liens on a property by address at the County Clerk's Office/Registrar of Deeds offices. For instance, an individual who wants to find liens on a property by address in Muskogee County can use the online tool available on the Clerk’s office website. Note that this is the same online tool that can be used to conduct land records search. The inquirer must click on the “Advanced Search” link at the bottom of the “Search menu” and then provide the property’s address information in the appropriate fields to conduct the search. Typically, search results will reveal information like book, page and instrument number, record date, grantee and grantor’s name, legal description, fees and date, and document image. Contact the Clerk’s office in the county the property is located for more information regarding a property search in Oklahoma.
Free Property Lien Search by Address
A record seeker who wants to check for liens on a property for free can do so at the Clerk's Office/Registrar of Deeds office in the county where the property is located. For instance, the Wagoner County Clerk’s Office has an online tool where an inquirer can conduct a free property lien search by address. This is how to do a free lien search by address in Wagoner County:
- Go to the Wagoner County Clerk’s Office website
- Scroll down and click on the “Search Land Records” menu
- Click on Official Records Web Search
- Click on Advanced Web Search
- Then scroll down and fill in the property address information in the appropriate fields.
Although it is possible to check liens on property online for free, certified copies of such records may come at a cost. Contact the Clerk’s office in the county the property is located for more information regarding a free property search in Oklahoma.
What is a Tax Lien in Oklahoma?
Oklahoma tax liens result from tax delinquency; when a person fails to pay income taxes, estate tax, or business tax, the state files a lien against the taxpayer. The tax lien may attach to any debtor's assets, but tax liens typically attach to the debtor's property.
The Oklahoma Tax Commission posts a list of the state's top 100 tax delinquencies. This list includes names of taxpayers who owe more than $25,000 in taxes, charges, and interests for longer than 90 days.
Oklahoma residents who owe property taxes for longer than three (3) years may forfeit their property. After the stipulated redemption period, the state sells off liened property at a tax sale per Okla. Stat. Ann. tit. § 3125. The County Treasurer typically sends a 30-day notice of the sale to the property owner. The debtor or property owner may redeem the liened property before the state or county treasurer presents the title deed to a new owner. Persons 65 years and older who live in the liened house may obtain a tax sale exemption.
Tax Lien Lookup in Oklahoma
A tax lien is a legal claim against an individual or business assets when they have unpaid property taxes. Individuals can inspect or obtain copies of tax liens in Oklahoma because they are considered public records. An Oklahoma resident can conduct a tax lien lookup at the Clerk's Office (also called Registrar of Deeds office) in the county where the property is located. For instance, a person can check the tax lien on a property in Cleveland County online at the Clerk’s office. The search can be done by name, book page or document number, document type, or subdivision. The best search method is to conduct a document type search because the inquirer can narrow down their search by selecting state tax lien. Typically, tax lien search reveals document type, number, remarks and image, book, page, recording date, number of pages, grantor and grantee’s names, and document date. Alternatively, a requester can visit the Cleveland County Clerk’s office from Monday to Friday between 8 am and 5 pm at:
Cleveland County Clerk
201 S. Jones, Suite 210
Norman, OK 73069
Phone: (405) 366-0240
Fax: (405) 366-0229
A requester who wants to find liens on a property can contact the Clerk’s office in the county where the property is located. The Office will provide more information about tax liens and other types of liens that may be on the property.
What is a Mortgage Lien in Oklahoma?
Mortgage loans enable individuals to purchase houses with loans and long-term repayment plans. Mortgagors who do not meet payment terms or other contractual obligations may be forced to forfeit the home when the mortgage creditor forecloses on the property to recover the outstanding payment.
Oklahoma Mortgage liens attach to property titles; therefore, the homeowner or mortgagor may not be able to refinance or sell the house while the lien is active. A mortgage is different from other property liens because mortgages are voluntary; by agreeing to the loan terms, the mortgagor willingly consents to make the house collateral and place a lien against the house.
According to Oklahoma Lien Laws, a mortgage takes priority over other types of liens that the mortgagor has at the filing time. In Oklahoma, a mortgage lien is active for seven (7) years; the mortgagor must enforce the lien within this period.
What is a Mechanics Lien in Oklahoma?
Oklahoma mechanics liens concern persons in the construction industry. Contractors, material suppliers, laborers, and other persons who supply materials, provide labor for, or render any other type of professional service towards the construction, repair, or alteration of a property, whether public or private, may file a mechanics liens against debtors in Oklahoma. For private properties, mechanics' liens attach to the property; however, in the case of public properties and projects, mechanics' liens attach to the public funds related to the project.
In Oklahoma, equipment lessors may not file mechanics liens against properties for agricultural purposes or properties under the homestead exemption. Also, depending on contract terms, staffing companies in Oklahoma may be exempt from mechanics liens. Contractor and laborers in direct contact with the property owner must file mechanics liens within four (4) months of providing labor, services, or supplying materials. Sub-contractors or parties without direct contact must file mechanics liens within 90 days of providing materials, providing labor, or offering services. Lien claimants must send lien notices to property owners within five (5) days of filing the lien. Oklahoma lien claimants may not enforce liens until 90 days after filing the lien; however, lien claimants must enforce the lien within one (1) year of filing.
What is a UCC Lien?
The Uniform Commercial Code (UCC) governs commercial transactions across the United States. Creditors may file UCC liens against a debtor's personal or business property as collateral for business funding or loans. Creditors may file UCC liens with the Secretary of State; the creditor will then take possession of the liened property until the debtor can repay the loan. UCC liens also apply to construction; material suppliers may file UCC liens against clients or property owners who refuse to pay for services rendered.
How to Conduct a UCC Lien Search
Generally, UCC liens are public records. Thus, UCC lien records are open to record seekers at the Oklahoma County Clerk's Office. A UCC lien search can be done online or in person. An online requester must provide the debtor/secured party's name, recorded date, document type, or instrument number to conduct a search. Search results typically reveal document type and image, recorded date, book/page, number of pages, instrument number, reference, collateral, debtor and secured party names, and legal descriptions. Note that any UCC lien information retrieved online is unofficial. Hence, they are just for information purposes.
In-person requesters must visit the Oklahoma County Clerk's Office to request UCC lien records. The office is open from Monday to Friday between 9 am and 5 pm, and it is located at:
Oklahoma County Annex Building
320 Robert S. Kerr Avenue, #203
Oklahoma City, OK 73102
Phone: (405) 713-1540
What is a Judgment Lien in Oklahoma?
Oklahoma judgment liens are judicial orders that enforce payments made to a debtor. Most liens can lead to a judgment lien if the creditor opts to enforce the lien and petition the court for a judicial order. For example, tax liens and mechanics liens become judgment liens if the lien claimant enforces the lien. Judgment liens can attach to real property like land, houses, condos, or personal property like antiques, jewelry, and other valuables. In Oklahoma, judgment liens are valid for five (5) years. Judgment liens do not apply to houses under the Oklahoma homestead exemption statute.
What is a Federal Tax Lien
A federal tax lien is the federal government’s right to seize property when taxpayers have unpaid property taxes (per IRC § 6321). When the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) wants to put a tax lien on a property, it files a Notice of Federal Tax Lien to alert creditors that they have a legal right to the property. The best way to avoid a federal tax lien is for property owners to pay their taxes in full and on time. When a federal tax lien is attached to a property, it remains on the property till the lien is discharged, released, or expired (IRC § 6322). Per IRC § 6502, a federal tax lien stays on a property for 10 years.
What is a Lien Title?
A lien title exists when a lienholder has a legal claim to a person’s property. If a person takes out a loan to purchase a property and the loan has not been repaid, the person cannot claim ownership of the property outrightly, and the lien will note that. It is impossible to complete a title transfer if there is a lien on the title of a property.
Where and How to Do a Title Search in Oklahoma
In Oklahoma, County Clerk Offices (also called Registrar of Deeds offices) are the repositories of all real property titles in the state. For instance, an interested person who wants to conduct a real property title search in Garfield County can check the online records on the Clerk’s office website. An individual can do a real property title search by legal details or by name and book/page to view and print an unofficial copy of title records for free. To retrieve official copies, contact the office by phone or in person at:
Garfield County Register of Deeds
Garfield County Courthouse
114 W Broadway, Room 105
Enid, OK 73701
Phone: (580) 237-0226
Fax: (580) 249-5951
The Oklahoma Tax Commission, Motor Vehicle Division is where a record seeker can conduct a vehicle title search in the state. Requests can be made by submitting a completed Vehicle Information Request form by mail to:
Oklahoma Tax Commission - Motor Vehicle Division
2501 North Lincoln Boulevard
Oklahoma City, OK 73194
Voluntary Lien vs. Involuntary Lien in Oklahoma?
In Oklahoma, asset owners or debtors may agree to voluntarily place a lien on their home in exchange for a loan. For instance, persons who agree to a mortgage consent to a property lien; the property stands as collateral for the loan. On the other hand, involuntary liens do not involve the debtor's voluntary agreement or consent. A creditor may file involuntary liens without the debtor's knowledge. Tax liens are statutory and are therefore examples of involuntary liens.
How Do Creditors Collect Payment Through a Lien?
In Oklahoma, a creditor who charges a lien against a debtor's property has a legal claim over the property. Where failure to perform obligations exist, the creditor can physically possess the property or enforce its sale, and its proceeds are used to pay off the liens on the property.
How Do I Get a Lien Removed in Oklahoma?
Interested persons may remove a lien in Oklahoma if they satisfy the state's eligibility requirements. Once attached to a property, a lien will sometimes endure until a debt is paid or the statute of limitations for the lien elapses. However, persons seeking to remove a lien from their property may:
- Ensure the debt is paid along with any interest or penalties incurred.
- Seek to confirm if the lien is valid and binding. If not, the lienee can challenge its validity in court. The court will only discharge the lien if the lienholder cannot prove the legitimacy of the lien.
- Negotiate with the creditor.
How Long Does a Lien Stay on Your Property in Oklahoma?
The length of time that a lien stays on a property in Oklahoma varies with the type of lien. In Oklahoma, an involuntary lien, like judgment liens, remain on a debtor's property for an average of five years unless the creditor opts to renew the lien. In contrast, a voluntary lien, like a mortgage lien, remains on the property until the details of the contract are fulfilled, debt paid or property foreclosed.
How to Avoid a Lien in Oklahoma?
Lien is a debt repayment contract. Therefore, the best way to avoid a lien in Oklahoma is to steer clear of debt or meet all repayment agreements made with the creditor to avoid a potential suit or petition.