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Colorado Lien Search

A Colorado lien search checks whether a lien exists on a property. It is a critical inquiry for anyone looking to purchase or invest in real estate or use property as collateral in Colorado. By performing a lien search, individuals can determine the type(s) of lien on a property and the debt or obligation owed, thus allowing them to make informed financial decisions.

Residents can often check liens on property in Colorado at the county recorder's office where a property is located. They are also maintained by Colorado civil court clerks as well as the Colorado Secretary of State’s Office. Several independent sources, including title search companies and third-party websites, also offer lien information to customers.

What is a Lien in Colorado

In Colorado, a lien represents a valid assertion or security interest in a property because of a debt. The fundamental objective of any lien is to secure the repayment of the debt. Liens may also put owners at risk of losing their properties through seizure if a debt remains unpaid. 

Types of Liens in Colorado

Liens can originate from a range of circumstances and for a multitude of reasons. Thus, Colorado has several varieties of liens, including:

  • Tax liens
  • Mortgage liens
  • Judgement liens
  • Mechanics liens
  • UCC liens
  • Warehouseman liens

Nonetheless, liens can be categorized based on one or more factors, including whether they are established by the owner's agreement or by law or whether they affect all or only one of a debtor's property. 

  • General Liens in Colorado

A general lien affixes to all assets or property owned by an individual. A lienholder with a general lien has the right to foreclose on any of a debtor's property to settle a debt. Tax and judgement liens are examples of general liens in Colorado.

  • Specific Liens

A specific lien is a claim that grants the lienholder the right to seize and sell a designated property to satisfy a debt. Examples of specific liens are municipal utility and bail-bond liens.

  • Consensual vs Involuntary Liens

A property can be subject to a consensual or involuntary lien in Colorado. In the case of a consensual lien, the property owner willingly agrees to have a lien placed on their property as collateral or security for the repayment of a debt. Conversely, an involuntary lien is imposed on the property without the owner's consent.

Regarding consensual liens, two distinct types exist: purchase-money security interest liens and non-purchase-money security interest liens. In both scenarios, the debtor retains ownership of the property and is not automatically at risk of losing it. 

  • Statutory Liens

Statutory liens are imposed on a property by lenders based on the provisions of existing statutes or laws to ensure that a debtor fulfills their financial obligations. These liens do not require the consent of a property owner. Examples include tax and mechanics liens. 

What is a Tax Lien in Colorado?

A tax lien is an official claim to a property because of unpaid taxes. The lien may be imposed because of unpaid property taxes, business taxes, income taxes, and other taxes owed to the federal, state, or a local government.

In Colorado, a tax lien is prioritized over other liens (Colorado Rev Stat § 39-1-107). The lien can be imposed on any taxable personal or real property.

Are Tax Liens Public Record?

Yes. Once a tax lien is recorded with a county clerk and filed with the Colorado Secretary of State, it becomes a public record. Under the Colorado Open Records Act, these records are publicly accessible.

By making such liens public, the State of Colorado enables potential investors or buyers to make informed decisions during property transactions. However, this also means that owners of liened properties may encounter challenges finding investors or buyers if a tax lien remains uncleared.

Colorado Tax Lien Search

Colorado tax liens are filed in the clerk and recorder's office of the county where a property is situated. Consequently, individuals can use record retrieval methods provided by the respective clerk's office to check liens on property. Standard options include online, via mail, or in person.

Many clerk's offices, including the Boulder County Clerk and Recorder's Office, provide remote access to search their land records databases for tax liens. Typically, users require a property owner's name or document number to search a clerk's online portal.

Alternatively, one may opt to submit a written request by mail to each relevant clerk's office. The process for a mail request may vary, but requesters must often fill out a form (which may be available on a clerk's website) or draft a request that contains pertinent details about the record. Furthermore, the requester must include their contact information, including full name, email, and address, to receive any retrieved document. A fee usually applies to obtain copies of documents. The fee schedule and means of payment are often provided on a clerk's website.

Finally, some clerk's offices may provide the option for walk-in requesters, with the requirement to schedule an appointment in advance in some counties, as is the case in Arapahoe County. In-person requests for lien records can typically be made orally or in writing. Requesters must provide specific details about the record required, and they may need to pay required fees where applicable.

In addition, certain offices may accept phone and fax inquiries. In these cases, residents can simply place a phone call or send a fax to inquire about the available options for accessing records.

It should be noted that Colorado tax liens are not filed with the Colorado Secretary of State's office.

Federal Tax Lien Search

Federal tax liens against real estate in Colorado are recorded in the clerk and recorder's office of the county where a property is situated. However, when such liens affect personal property, the place of filing is the Secretary of State's office. Interested persons may query the relevant office to find such liens. Typically, a property owner's name or document number is necessary for a successful search.

The Colorado Secretary of State also provides some lien search features online. Generally, interested parties can access these tools with a name, party's address, or date range to find federal tax lien records.

What is a Lien on Property in Colorado

A lien on a property in Colorado signifies that a specific monetary debt is linked to a property. Liens may affect personal and real property.

Personal property is defined in § 39-1-102(11), C.R.S to mean anything subject of ownership that does not constitute "real property." Examples are jewelry, machinery, and equipment. Meanwhile, real property, as defined in § 39-1-102(14), C.R.S encompasses land and everything attached to it. 

Who can put a lien on a property?

Any individual or entity owed money by a property owner has the right to put a lien on the property as a means of securing payment. The property in question may be liened voluntarily or involuntarily. As well, the lienholder may be a private entity that has provided a loan or service to the owner, an individual who obtained a court judgement, or a government entity.

How to put a lien on property in Colorado

The process of placing a lien on a property in Colorado is contingent on the type of lien.

First and foremost, for a lien to be legally enforceable in Colorado, it must be recorded with a clerk and recorder's office. A prospective lienor must look up properties owned by a debtor. This action not only ensures that the correct property is liened but is also a way of checking if other liens exist on a property.

Subsequently, the lender must ensure that all necessary information and documentation, including any relevant signed agreements (if applicable), are provided to support their claim to the property. This step is particularly crucial for submissions via mail or in person. In some instances, the creditor would need to alert the debtor before following through to filing.

In a situation where there is no positive response or response at all from the owner, the next step would be filing the lien, which can be accomplished through online, mail, or in-person methods. For personal properties, filing is with the Secretary of State, while for real property, it is with the recorder or the county clerk. Subsequently, the required fees must be paid using the accepted payment methods to complete the process. 

Additionally, individuals conducting inquiries can check online to determine if specific filing instructions are available on the web page of the recorder or county clerk where the property is located or where the debtor resides. Notably, the Colorado Secretary of State offers comprehensive filing instructions online. 

How to Find a Lien on Property in Colorado

The type of property for which an individual is conducting a lien search determines the corresponding agency to approach. In the case of personal properties, initiating the search through the Secretary of State is advisable, while for other properties, contacting the County Clerk’s office or the office of the recorder is recommended.

As mentioned previously, inquiries can be conducted using various methods including online, via mail, phone, fax, or in-person, contingent upon the available resources within each county. Additionally, residents can conduct a property or title search to identify properties with existing liens, or they may choose to enlist the services of a private entity for a fee or utilize a third-party website to perform the search.

  • Property Lien Search By Address

While certain counties offer direct online access to a database of properties with liens within the county, not all counties may have such a database readily available. Alternatively, researchers can identify a lien on a property by searching property records. It is important to note that only a few counties may offer online searches by address.

Moreover, persons wishing to perform a property lien search can submit a request via mail or in person, specifying te property's address. However, for most private service providers, the parameter required for searching is an address. As a result, residents can simply perform a property lien search by providing the address of the particular property for a fee. 

  • Free Lien Search on Property

To check for liens on a property, citizens can query the office of the recorder and county clerk. These agencies provide the public with the opportunity to conduct free lien searches on properties within the county whether online or in person. Individuals are only required to provide specific details to facilitate the retrieval of the necessary record. 

What is a Mechanics Lien in Colorado?

In Colorado, a mechanics lien serves as a legal measure utilized by suppliers, contractors, subcontractors, or other professionals to safeguard their financial interest related to a debt owed for services rendered. These services can encompass labor, tools, equipment, or machinery provided. The mechanics lien ensures that the individual or organization involved is duly compensated.

The guidelines concerning mechanics liens in Colorado are outlined in §§ 38-22-101 — 38-22-133 of the state statutes, addressing all facets of mechanics liens, from their definition to attachment, enforcement, and payment. Once a mechanics lien is placed on a property, it restricts the owner's options, as many individuals may be reluctant to purchase or invest in a property with an outstanding lien. Additionally, failure to settle the debt specified in the lien could ultimately result in the loss of the property. 

Colorado Mechanics Lien Search 

Individuals seeking to conduct a Colorado mechanics lien search can utilize the same process described earlier for finding lien records in the state. This process remains consistent regardless of the type of lien being searched for, and members of the public have the option to reach out to the relevant offices online, via mail, or in person.

It is important to note that certain counties only permit in-person visits by appointment, if at all. Additionally, while conducting an inspection may be free of charge, obtaining copies of records may require payment of a fee. 

What is a Mortgage Lien in Colorado?

A Colorado mortgage lien is a specific form of lien imposed on a property, primarily on structures and real estate, to serve as collateral ensuring the fulfillment of a legally binding obligation, such as a loan. In the event that an individual fails to fulfill the loan or debt payments, the creditor retains the right to seize and sell the property or claim ownership of the property. Typically, mortgage liens are consensual in nature, established with the agreement of the property owner. 

What is a UCC Lien in Colorado? 

A Uniform Commercial Code (UCC) lien is a legal instrument employed by a lienholder to protect their stake in a debtor's assets. Typically lodged with the Office of the Secretary of State, this type of lien, upon filing, functions as a public notification of the creditor's interest in the borrower’s assets. There are two primary types of UCC liens: blanket liens, which cover all types of collateral, and specific collateral liens, which pertain to a particular asset. 

UCC Lien Search Colorado

In Colorado, individuals can conduct a UCC lien search through the state or county platform. Interested parties have access to UCC lien records on the Secretary of State's website. Alternatively, they can send an inquiry email or choose to visit the Colorado Secretary of State's office in person during business hours at the following address:

Colorado Secretary of State

1700 Broadway, Suite 550

Denver, CO 80290

Phone: (303) 894-2200

Moreover, residents can locate UCC liens as part of property title or land records, which are maintained by the Recorder of Deeds in the county.

When using the standard search feature on the Secretary of State's website, inquirers can access UCC liens by entering the debtor's name and initiating the search. Subsequently, the matching results can be selected, and the report viewed. Certified copies of the results are available for those who are logged into the system. To assist requesters, a helpful video guide is provided on the website for those seeking to conduct a search.

Furthermore, individuals also have the option to perform a UCC lien search on the Colorado Information Marketplace site. 

What is a Lien Title in Colorado

A lien title, specifically for vehicles, represents a security interest placed on the vehicle due to a judgement lien or a loan used for the vehicle's purchase, guaranteeing payment of the debt owed to the lienholder. In Colorado, when a vehicle has a lien title, the title is held by the lienholder until the debt is settled. Only after payment is made will the creditor release the vehicle title along with the lien release document. In the event of non-payment of the loan or debt, the creditor has the option to repossess the vehicle or sell it. 

Colorado Title Lien Search

Individuals have the option to conduct a personal title lien search or investigate the records of another person in Colorado. It is generally recommended that individuals perform a Colorado title lien search when contemplating the purchase of a vehicle, as this can provide valuable insights for making an informed decision. The requester can execute a vehicle record search on the Department of Revenue website, request via mail or in person, or request the vehicle title from the prospective seller. In Colorado, as a non-title holding state, the seller may not possess the vehicle title if there is a lien attached to it.

For searching, records can be accessed using a VIN, plate number, or title number. It's important to note that if an individual seeks to search for the vehicle record of someone else, they may need to specify the purpose for which the record is being obtained or provide a signed authorization from the titled owner. 

  • Free Title Lien Search in Colorado

 The Colorado Department of Revenue Division of Motor Vehicles does not offer a complimentary title lien search. However, they do provide this service for a reasonable fee, which is set at $2, 2 cents per search/history, and 5 cents per page for a certified copy. 

What is a Judgement Lien in Colorado?

A judgement lien in Colorado is an involuntary lien placed on a property by a court, typically resulting from a legal proceeding that grants the lienholder the right to be compensated if the property is foreclosed. These liens typically surface when a defendant is required to compensate a plaintiff for damages but lacks the necessary funds at the time. The plaintiff can then file a judgement lien with the recorder's office where the defendant owns the property, thereby granting the creditor the right to claim the property if the debtor is unable to fulfill their obligation within a specified timeframe.

This type of lien is most commonly associated with real estate and typically remains in effect for a period of six years, after which it must be renewed. Colo. Rev. Stat. section 13-52-102 outlines the provisions for the attachment, execution, and fulfillment of a judgement lien.

The presence of a judgement lien can lead to several consequences, including a gradual depreciation in the value of the property, difficulty finding a buyer for the property, and the ultimate potential loss of the property if the debt remains unpaid. 

Colorado Judgement Lien Search

Judgement liens, like all other liens, are deemed public records and are accessible to the public. Individuals can inquire at the Office of the Recorder in the county where the property is located or where the property owner resides. Alternatively, they can review relevant court records to access the necessary documentation. These searches can typically be performed free of charge. Furthermore, individuals can also search through the website of the Secretary of State for information on judgement liens. 

How to Get a Lien Release in Colorado 

Following the satisfaction of a lien, it is the responsibility of the creditor to furnish the debtor with a lien release. The debtor subsequently files this lien release letter with the recorder's office in the county where the lien was originally placed, thereby rendering it a matter of public record. Individuals seeking to inspect or obtain a copy of the lien release can do so from the recorder's office by providing the necessary details pertaining to the record. To obtain this document, one may visit the office in person, send a request via email, or contact the office by phone or fax for inquiries. It is important to have all relevant details regarding the document readily available to provide any necessary information upon request.

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