what is a lien

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					What Is a Lien?                                    and professional consultants may file liens       You have 15 days from the receipt of this
A Lien (pronounced "lean") is a financial          against your property.                            order to appeal before the house is
hold on your property, giving your creditor        Unscrupulous contractors (and other service       demolished and the lien is filed against your
the right to collect a debt out of the proceeds    providers) might try to get you to pay for the    property.
of the sale of your property.                      same work twice by filing a lien against your     If you receive an Order to Repair and/or
                                                   property for a debt you have already paid         Vacate, contact the Legal Clinic at 504-
If the City of New Orleans puts a lien on your     them for.                                         717-7324.
property, the City will eventually get the right   It is essential to get a lien release or waiver
to sell your property without your                 from each subcontractor and supplier.             WHEN TO SETTLE
permission, unless you fight the lien.             Insist on signed releases before making           If the creditor can prove that he or she
                                                   payments. Never pay by cash. Only use a           completed the work as requested, and that
WHY CREDITORS USE LIENS                            check or money order.                             you did not pay what you promised in writing
Creditors use liens, and threats of liens, to                                                        to pay, then you should seek legal advice
limit your right to sell your property.            CITY DEMOLITION AND CLEAN-UP                      about negotiating a settlement so the creditor
Generally, creditors file liens because they       LIENS                                             will release the lien claim.
expect you to pay your alleged debt to them.       The City of New Orleans may file a lien
Creditors are anyone who says you owe them         against your property to pay for the              WHAT TO DO IF A LIEN IS FILED
money, including contractors or the City of        demolition or clean-up of houses that are         AGAINST YOU
New Orleans.                                       uninhabitable or public nuisances. If your        You have the right to challenge liens on your
If there is a lien on your property when you       house is not gutted, cleaned and boarded, or      property. (La. R.S. 9:484)
try to sell it, most purchasers will refuse to     have not put yourself on a gutting list or
buy your property. If you are able to sell         signed a with a contractor by Aug. 29, 2006,      If a lien is filed against your property by a
your property in spite of the presence of a        you risk seizure, demolition, or inspection.      contractor, you should consult with an
lien, your creditor will collect their debt out    The lower 9th Ward is exempt from this            attorney. Attorneys may be able to recover
of your profit on the sale, leaving you with       deadline. (Code of the City of New Orleans Sec.   fees from the contractor to pay for this
less money than you would have had                 26-205 (2)).                                      challenge. (La. R.S. 9:4841(F)) The New
otherwise.                                         In order to declare your house uninhabitable      Orleans Bar Association Lawyer Referral
                                                   or a public nuisance, the city must first order   Service telephone number is (504) 561-8828 .
CONTRACTOR LIENS                                   an inspection of the property. The city can
Your contractor may file a lien against your       also charge you for inspecting the property       If the City of New Orleans demolishes your
property. (La. R.S. 9:4801). The contractor        or for any repairs/clean-up that they do to       house and files a lien against your property,
must provide you a NOTICE OF LIEN                  your house. The city cannot put a lien on         you may have as little as two months before
RIGHTS for work on your home (La. R.S.             your house without doing any demolition or        the city can sell your property to collect the
9:4852).                                           work on it.                                       special demolition tax. You have the right to
If you did not sign a NOTICE OF LIEN               If you are living in your house and do not        appeal the debt until the property is sold.
RIGHTS, then any lien your contractor              allow the inspection to take place, the city      Contact the Legal Clinic immediately at 504-
files can be challenged.                           is required to obtain a warrant                   717-7324 if you receive an order to repair or
                                                   before proceeding.                                vacate, a notice of lien, a notice of tax
Other service providers such as                    After the inspection, you will receive an         assessment, a notice of sale, or any other
subcontractors, laborers, material suppliers,      order to repair and/or vacate the property.       legal papers from the city about your
property.                                        NOLAC

DOCUMENTS TO KEEP
                                                 504-529-1000                             Learning about
To contest liens filed against your property,
you should keep as much documentation as
                                                 Common Ground Legal Helpline
                                                 (504) 717-7324
                                                                                          Liens on Your
possible, such as:
-- Legal papers and notices you receive from                                                 Property
your contractor or from the city
-- Your contract, including every revision you
have, with the contractor's signature on it        Need Access to free Fax,
-- Copy of your contractor's license
-- Invoices for materials and labor              Phone, of Internet? Stop by
-- Copies of the checks cashed by the            Common Ground's House of
contractor or other suppliers
-- Receipts signed by the contractor for each    Excellence at 1415 Franklin
payment                                             Ave. Our community
-- Photographs of the property before, during,
and after the work
                                                  computer lab is open 8am-                   Common Ground Legal
-- Copies of every letter or note you send or             midnight.                            House of Excellence
give to the contractor                                                                          1415 Franklin Ave
-- Copies of every waiver or release signed                                                   New Orleans, LA 70117
by you and/or your contractor
-- Contact information for any witnesses who
are present when you negotiate with your
contractor                                                                             Creditors who repaired damage to your
-- Your notes                                     Also visit our Free Legal Clinic   house from Katrina may say they will put
Keep your documents together in a file, and              at 1415 Franklin,             a lien on your property. This brochure
bring them all with you every time you go to                                         contains information about what liens are,
your attorney or the Common Ground Legal
                                                       every Saturday 12-3.          and how creditors use liens to get paid for
Clinic or other legal advisors.                    Come Speak with an attorney        their work. You can prevent a lien being
.                                                  about any legal questions you       put on your property by appealing lien
Additional Resources                                                                      proceedings or by settling with the
                                                             may have.                       contractor (under reasonable
Katrina Pr-Bono Hotline:                                                                 circumstances). You can have liens
1-800-310-7029                                                                        removed from your property by going to
                                                                                     court. This brochure may help you figure
LA Bar Referral and Information Service                                                 out if you need to consult an attorney
1-888-503-5747                                                                                       about a lien.

				
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