Can you remove a lien on real estate in a Chapter 13 bankruptcy?

There are three basic types of liens on real estate. There is a mortgage lien where you have borrowed money and pledged the house as collateral for the loan. This may be the loan to purchase the house or a refinance of the original mortgage. It also includes home equity loans or lines of credit and second mortgages. You may also have a mortgage lien if you have borrowed money for home improvements. The second type of lien on real estate is a judgment lien. This is where someone you owe money to has filed a lawsuit against you and obtained a judgement. The creditor can then record the judgment as a lien against your real estate. The third type of lien is a tax lien. This can be established by state law or by recording the lien in the public records. If you owe real estate taxes, the city or county that you owe the taxes to has a lien under state law against the real estate. If you owe money to the IRS or the state taxing authority, they can file a lien against all of your property, including your real estate.

If your property is worth less than is owed on the first mortgage, there are ways to remove the subsequent liens in a Chapter 13 bankruptcy. How and when these liens can be removed depends on the type of lien. If you have a second mortgage or home equity lien of credit, judgments or tax liens, you need to meet with an experienced bankruptcy attorney to discuss what can be done in your situation.

Edrie Pfeiffer
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Edrie Pfeiffer, Bankruptcy & Divorce Attorney