Citizens Action Networks

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Commercial Lien 101

Let's begin first by listing some key terms. While you can click on the terms for a definition, we advise you to consult with a trusted law dictionary for verification:

  • Affiant
  • Affidavit
  • Creditor
  • Debtor
  • Grantee
  • Grantor
  • Levy
  • Lien
    • Class Action Lien
  • Respondent
  • True Bill In Commerce

    Some of the instruments and applications used in the commercial lien process:

    • 15 USC Tracer Flag
    • Commercial Affidavit
    • Commercial Lien
    • Notice of Intent
    • Notice of Default
    • Notary Affidavit of Presentment

    Let's Get Started!

    Step 1. Notice and Demand 

    • This document will be used to initiate the commercial lien process. This is your Notice to the offender of your grievance, and the offender's opportunity to correct the situation. This notice will be in the form of a notarized or witnessed affidavit sent to the offender. The offender has 30-90 to reply/ rebut your allegations. Some tips to remember:
      • It should be in the form of an Affidavit, and it should address the individual(s) personally.
      • The Notice should be a concise as possible, preferably avoiding religion or morality. It should focus on applicable law and contain citations of law to support what is being claimed--if possible.
      • It must quote the legal amount of time given for the recipient to fulfill the demand, and what will happen if the demand is not satisfied within that time.
      • Finally, it should be sent certified mail w an Affidavit of Notary Presentment.

    Step 2. Notice of Default

    • When you receive no reply or rebuttal to your Notice and Demand, you will send the offender(s) a Notice of Default. This statement will 1) inform the offender(s) of the aquiescence to the demands made in your Notice and Demand and 2) demand payment or satisfaction.
    • This notice will be in the form of a notarized or witnessed affidavit sent to the offender.
    • Finally, it should be sent certified mail w an Affidavit of Notary Presentment.
      • Filing this Notice of Default with the County Recorder or Clerk of Courts where the offender has property creates a public, legal record in support of the succeeding lien.

    Step 3. Commercial Lien

    • Only after issuing plenty of notice and allowing ample passage of time can a Commercial Lien be issued. This will be a notarized statement .
    • A copy is to be sent to the offender via certified mail w an Affidavit of Notary Presentment while the original document is filed in the county in which the offender holds property.
    • The lien must be accompanied by (or contain) a Commercial Affidavit, containing a ledger of damages suffered.
    • The lien must also cite the law(s), action(s)or obligation(s) that ave rise to the damages.

    ****NOTE---Commercial Liens should be Filed PRIOR to Filing any Action in Court


    Mistakes and Pitfalls to Avoid

    Defective Legal Form and Procedure
    When filing any lien, it is important to follow the legal forms and procedures of your state or County. Study the statutes for the locality in which you are filing, and follow those forms and procedures religiously. Failure to do so can have serious consequences.

    First, you may be civilly liable for "slander of title." In some jurisdictions (notably Louisiana) this is called "jactitation," and a suit to remove the "cloud of title" and recover damages is known as an "action of jactitation."

    Even worse, in many jurisdictions, someone who files liens in bad faith, or who uses defective forms or procedures, can be convicted of "felony slander of title."