What Is a Super-Priority Lien and How Does it Work?

With matters of property and taxes, there are plenty of legalities to consider. This article looks at super-priority liens in more detail and focuses on the power it holds.

What Is a Lien?

We define a lien as a legal claim or hold on a property. The lien will give a third party a legal hold on someone’s property and often relates to a failed responsibility like an unpaid debt or a loan repayment. 

What Is a Super-Priority Lien?

A super-priority lien refers to a lien or claim that has the power to supersede or overthrow any other claims. Super-priority liens can start foreclosures and take the first place in the line of debtors, even before the mortgage lender. 

The specialists at Taxpage.com ran a recent post clarifying the powers of these super-priority liens hold in more detail. Super-priority lien claims can be granted in the following instances, and to these entities:

Tax Liens 

Besides the power some tax authorities hold to serve notice to a delinquent taxpayer’s bank account or salary, a tax lien can attach super-priority status to unpaid taxes. 

A tax lien further gives the authorities a legal interest in any property owned. It can enforce payment of outstanding tax assessments or tax debt. Should the property in question be sold, the owner must first pay the unpaid tax lien before they can claim any of the proceeds.

Tax liens are superior to all other forms of claims. Bonds or mortgages rank second-highest, followed by homeowners associations.

Homeowners Associations

With homeowner association liens, it refers to a court order or a judgment against an offending homeowner. A homeowners’ association is often granted super-priority in the community’s interest to preserve its value. 

It’s often allowed, as homeowners associations require funds to run essential operations for building maintenance for the upkeep of communal areas and other facilities on offer to the collective of homeowners in the area. 

Environmental Protection 

Environmental liens are charged against a property’s title to secure payments of debt, or to recuperate costs. Some states hold power to grant super lien rights to their relevant environmental protection agencies. This is in specific reference to environmental cleanup required to maintain health and safety measures, i.e., in the instances of cleaning up hazardous materials.

The Bottom Line

In conclusion, judgments and liens are considered public matters, and therefore, it’s recorded via the state or county’s registry of deeds office. 

When seeking advice in the complicated matters of property rights and understanding how liens and super liens work, it’s always advisable to consider speaking to a local expert. Local law and tax practitioners, or specialists for homeowners associations, are best equipped to deal with the regulations in a specific county or state. They can consult and offer guidance, given your unique circumstances.