Here’s Who Can Put a Lien on Your House

A homeowner fills a Federal Tax lien form in San Antonio, TX.

When you own Texas real estate property, you may have a voluntary lien like a mortgage. However, you may also risk various involuntary liens. For instance, if you have any back taxes that you never paid, you may face property tax liens from the local government.

Generally, a lien is a tool that protects the interests of a mortgage lender or other creditors. So, who can put a lien on your house in Texas?

Essentially, anyone awaiting a large payment from a homeowner may potentially put a lien against his or her house. That means the contractor or creditor holds a legal claim to the real estate property.

As such, the property owner cannot sell the house until the debt is repaid. A lienholder can even ask the court for foreclosure on the home. 

Here, we will explain who can put a lien on your house, how to avoid having various types of liens placed on your home, and how to gain a release of a lien. Are you ready to find out all about real property liens? Then, read on!

Who Can Put a Lien On Your House?

You will find that a variety of different individuals can put liens on your personal property including homes and cars. The different types of liens and the individuals that can put a lien on the property include:

  • Mortgage lien from lenders
  • Tax lien from the local government
  • A mechanic’s lien on your automobile
  • IRS lien from the federal government
  • A judgment lien from someone who wins a lawsuit against you
  • A child support lien from an ex-spouse or parent

Along with mechanics putting liens on a car, you can also have subcontractors put a lien on your home if you haven’t paid them for their work. If you want to sell your home, you will need a clear title without any legal claims to the property. 

Homebuyers try to ensure they have access to a clear property title via a title search. As such, so you will need to keep your mortgage payments up to date and create repayment plans with any other creditors or contractors.

One of the most basic liens on a home come from a mortgage lender. If you’re struggling to cover the monthly payments on your mortgage loan, you may want to refinance the loan. Speak with your lender to see what options are available for you. 

Have you failed to pay all of your property taxes? If so, the local government can get a court order to put a lien on your real estate property. 

Furthermore, if you did not pay all of your income taxes, the IRS can put a lien on your home as well. That’s how the federal government tries to obtain back taxes. If you still cannot pay back your income taxes, the government may file to foreclose on your home to get the funds. 

Yet, selling a house with a tax lien on it is possible if you can find a buyer who will provide a large enough amount to help you pay off your back taxes. If the home purchase amount is large enough, the government may remove the lien. 

Further, a judgment lien may occur if you have lost a lawsuit and haven’t paid the winner what you owe. Lastly, a parent who fails to pay court-ordered child support payments may also face a lien on his or her home. 

Those Who Have Done Work to the Home To Increase Value

Have you hired contractors to fix and repair portions of your home? Did you need a complete renovation of your kitchen or bathroom? If you answered yes to either question, you’ll need to pay the contractor his or her agreed-upon contract price. 

Otherwise, a contractor can file a mechanic’s lien. In most US regions, the contractor needs to file a lien in court for nonpayment within six months after completing the work. Make sure to pay your contractor in less than six months to avoid any legal action taken against your house.

Therefore, contractors who have done work to your home to increase the value of the property can put a lien on the house if you don’t pay them. Furthermore, if you have hired landscapers to fix up your yards and gardens, you may also put your home at risk of a lien if you fail to pay the landscapers. 

If your home had major plumbing or electrical problems, a plumber or electrician may also seek payments and take legal action.

However, these professionals need to enforce the court-ordered lien within one year by suing the homeowner in court. Yet, that yearly requirement does vary depending on the state you reside in. If the contractor fares well and wins the lawsuit, you may face home foreclosure and have your house sold to pay off your debt.

You will need to pay roofing contractors, plumbers, electricians, landscapers, and repairmen on time to avoid having a lien placed on your home and facing foreclosure. 

Those Who Have Contributed To Increasing the Home Value

Individuals who have contributed in some way to increase your home’s value do have the right to place a lien on the property if you have not paid them for their work. For instance, it can happen if you have not paid a supplier that provided your home with building materials that increased your house’s value.

If you ordered lumber or cement to build another room onto the house and did not pay the supplier, that company or individual does have the right to place a lien on your property. 

However, anyone that contributed to raising your home’s value needs to go to court to order a property lien. The judge will then record a judgment of the lien. The judge can order a judgment lien for any unpaid taxes or other fees that you owe.

Whatever amount of money you owe to a supplier, contractor, or creditor – whether that’s $80,000 or a mere $2,000 – will need to get paid off to have a lien removed from your house.

You should also pay attention to any interest and late fees when planning to pay off your debt. For instance, a mortgage loan often increases interest and late fees that you’d need to pay to remove a lien. Otherwise, governments or mortgage companies can sell your property to recoup the debt you owe.

A homeowner looks for the definition of a lien.

How To Remove a Lien From Your House

You can remove a lien from your house using several steps, including working with the lienholder to pay off your debt. However, removing it does depend on the value of the lien and the type. Sometimes, a lienholder may take the lien off the property if both parties agree to a repayment plan.

The best way to have a clear title to your home is to pay off the debt and then file a Release of Lien form. Another way to no longer have a lien tied to your property is to sell your house. However, if you can find a buyer who doesn’t mind the lien, you will still need to pay off the debt to your lienholder upon the sale of the house.

You will likely have trouble finding a home buyer if you have a property lien against your house. Essentially, buyers fear residences that someone else has a legal claim against. Yet, you may potentially find cash buyers or real estate investors interested in such a home sale.

The best way to remove a lien from your property is usually to pay off your debt in full or develop a payment plan with your lienholder. That way, you can put your home on the real estate market without any liens standing in the way.


After reading through the information above, you should now know who can put a lien on your house and how to remove the legal claim to your property via a payment plan. Once you have all liens removed from your property, you can begin selling your house on the real estate market.

If you’re financially strapped, you will likely try to avoid spending as much as you can when selling your property. For example, you may want to avoid paying a real estate agent and covering their commission fees by selling through the For Sale By Owner (FSBO) process.

Our tips for selling a house without a realtor include marketing the property, completing renovations, and gathering all necessary documentation for the sale. Furthermore, if you want to sell a house fast in Live Oak, we recommend reaching out to cash home buyers in Texas.

Since cash buyers don’t need to wait on a home loan approval, they can purchase property more quickly. Many real estate investors, cash buyers, or house flippers also buy homes in their as-is conditions. As such, you could even save on renovations. We buy houses San Antonio locals adore, so give us a call today for a fair offer!

Get More Info On Options To Sell Your Home...

Selling a property in today's market can be confusing. Connect with us or submit your info below and we'll help guide you through your options.

Sell Your House For Cash Today!

  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Call Us!