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Arkansas Lien Search

An Arkansas lien search is an important process in the real estate business used to find liens on a property in Arkansas. It helps individuals find any debts associated with a property that may cause a lender to withdraw any financing offer to an interested buyer. A lien search is usually performed through offices that document and manage public records. This includes Arkansas civil courts the Arkansas Department of Finance and Administration, as well as Arkansas County Clerks and Recorders. Lenders, property buyers, real estate investors, and other interested parties may conduct a lien search by querying custodian offices or using their online resources.

What is a Lien in Arkansas?

A lien in Arkansas is a legal claim that a person or business can file against a property. It protects creditors by ensuring the property owner clears all debts. Specific laws and procedures govern who, when, and how to place liens in Arkansas. 

For example, Arkansas law permits engineers and surveyors to obtain a lien for the contract price of services provided on a property. (A.C.A. § 18-44-101). The law also allows contractors, subcontractors, and material suppliers without payment for materials or work to file a lien against a property. Similarly, a court may place a lien on an individual’s property for defaulting on outstanding fines or penalties (A.C.A. § 14-54-903). 

Types of Liens in Arkansas

The different liens in Arkansas are under two categories: general or specific and voluntary or involuntary. However, most people in Arkansas are more familiar with the liens outlined below: 

  • Mechanics liens
  • Judgement liens
  • Tax liens
  • UCC liens
  • Warehouse liens
  • Mortgage liens
  • Child support liens
  • Agricultural liens. 

General Liens in Arkansas 

General liens allow creditors to seize not only assets that serve as collateral but also any asset of a debtor. In other words, even if the property is not part of the debt, the creditor still has the right to keep the property until the debtor clears all debts. A general lien usually comes with conditions and limitations per state law.

Specific Liens in Arkansas

This type of lien is a claim against a specific property in the state. The creditor can only use that particular property to securitize debt. An example of a specific lien is a mortgage lien that only applies to properties on a mortgage. If there is a mortgage on both a home and an investment property, a mortgage lien filed against the investment property will not affect the home property.  

Consensual vs Involuntary Liens 

A consensual lien has the consent of both the debtor and the creditor. Here, the debtor consents to granting the creditor a lien on the item bought for security purposes. In contrast, the creditor may seize the property and sell it to regain the debt if the debtor fails on the loan.

An involuntary lien is created by law but without the debtor's consent. Here, the creditor may choose to seize any property of the debtor to clear the debt. However, this type of lien harms debtors because it is involuntary and takes time to cancel.

Statutory Liens in Arkansas

Under statutory liens, creditors may not need the debtor's consent or a security agreement to obtain security interests. The creditor will only depend on the operation of state or federal legislation. Examples are mechanics and tax liens.

What is a Tax Lien in Arkansas

A tax lien in Arkansas is a statutory lien that may be placed on the properties of individuals who fail to pay taxes to the Arkansas government. However, if the individual clears all debts with the government or sets up a repayment plan, the lien may be lifted. If the individual does not pay the tax owed on time, the state government may proceed to seize the property to clear the debt.

Are Tax Liens Public Records in Arkansas?

Yes. According to the Arkansas Freedom of Information Act (FOIA), tax liens are public records in Arkansas. This law states that members of the public can request to view or copy these records from various custodians. 

The Circuit Clerk's Office is responsible for filing tax liens against personal property in Arkansas. The recording process ensures that all creditors know of any legal claim on a taxpayer's property in the state. After notification, the lien becomes a public record, and the taxpayer may be unable to carry out any transaction on the specific property. Such actions may constrain the taxpayer from getting any form of credit.

Arkansas Tax Lien Search

One of the ways to perform an Arkansas Tax Lien Search is through the Circuit Clerk's office at various county levels in the specific property's location. This search can be done in person or online. 

  • In-person: The Circuit Clerk's office is in charge of maintaining land and property records for multiple counties in the state, which includes tax liens. At the Circuit Clerk's office, requesters must provide the name and address of the property owner to search for these documents. 
  • Online: The Circuit Clerk's office also provides online search portals that help individuals look up tax lien records in Arkansas. For example, Benton County provides a land records search portal to access.

Alternatively, the Arkansas Department of Finance and Administration offers online Vehicle Title, Registration, and Lien Search services. An Information Network of Arkansas (INA) subscription account is necessary to find any further information on tax liens. 

Federal Tax Lien Search

The Arkansas Title, Registration, and Lien Record Search allows individuals or businesses to search for federal tax liens in the state. This search database is available on the Arkansas Department of Finance and Administration (DFA) website. However, the requester must own an INA (Information Network of Arkansas) subscriber account. This account comes with a subscription service fee of $150. 

What is a Lien on Property in Arkansas

A lien on property in Arkansas is a legal claim that allows the creditor to obtain access to the property if the debtor does not clear debts. The various types of lien on property in Arkansas include tax lien, mortgage lien, mechanics lien, and materialmen lien.

The court may grant property liens if the owner of a car, boat, or house fails to pay a mortgage on the property. A certified copy of the court judgement, stating the debtor's name, the date, and the amount owed, must be filed at the county clerk's office to establish a property lien in Arkansas (A.C.A § 16-13-707).

Who can put a lien on a property?

Arkansas law allows anyone who renders a job or supplies materials for a construction project to put a lien on a property in Arkansas. Professionals like engineers and architects also have lien rights in the state. 

How to put a lien on property in Arkansas 

Generally, the procedure for placing a lien on a property depends on the type of lien. The type of lien a person wishes to place determines the requirements and protocol. For example, persons interested in placing a mechanic's lien on a property may file with the Clerk of the Circuit Court of the county where the property is located (A.C.A. § 18-44-117). However, the person must file a lien within 120 days of the work or supply date. 

Generally, a persons who wishes to place a lien on a property must possess the following:

  • A detailed statement containing the amount due or owing to the creditor 
  • An affidavit of notice related to the lien account involved
  • A certified affidavit containing the correct description of the property.

The person requesting to place the lien on the property may have to submit the fee stated in § 21-6-306 to the circuit court clerk. If the court files a lawsuit regarding the lien, the cost will be taxed and collected with extra charges.

How to Find a Lien on Property in Arkansas

The Arkansas Secretary of State's office maintains personal property liens and ensures members of the public access these records through the UCC System. The search for liens on properties will require the requester to download the complete UCC database and subscribe to an Information Network of Arkansas (INA) account.

The Arkansas Title, Registration, and Lien Record Search is another online search portal for individuals to find liens on a property. This department provides information on title, vehicle and vessel registration, and lien documents.

Individuals who want to find liens on a property in Arkansas can also search public records held in the Circuit Clerks' offices across the state. Some offices maintain an online search portal for requesters to conduct a property lien search by address on county levels.

Property Lien Search By Address

People who want to conduct a property lien search by address can visit any of the circuit clerk's offices. Most circuit clerk offices are in charge of maintaining land records, which includes property liens filed in the county where the office is situated. Each office may require requesters to register an account before using the search portals. 

However, in some counties, there are no online search portals for property liens. Contact or visit the circuit clerk's offices in person for further information on finding liens on a property by address.

Free Lien Search on Property 

It is possible to conduct free lien searches at the circuit clerk's offices. Some clerks maintain public records and indexes online for individuals to obtain information about a property lien without any fee. The following information is available through each search:

  • Names of the debtor and creditor
  • The filing date and time
  • The amount owed
  • Type of lien involved
  • File number
  • Number of pages in the document
  • Scanned document images. 

What is a Mechanics Lien in Arkansas?

A mechanic's lien or material men’s lien in Arkansas is a legal claim the court files against properties enhanced by work or supplies from contractors and subcontractors. In Arkansas, the Arkansas Property Owner's Association Act governs the mechanic’s liens in the state. The Act states specific requirements and procedures for filing and enforcing a lien in the state. 

The reason a mechanics lien is effective is because it is a successful claim against a property over the years. As such, it reduces the market value of any property under assets related to an outstanding debt. Laborers or material suppliers who did not get paid for the construction job can file a mechanics lien to place a claim on the property worked on.

Arkansas Mechanics Lien Search

To perform an Arkansas mechanics lien search, one must visit the county court clerk's office. The office is responsible for filing and maintaining documents related to mechanics lien claims in the state. The requestor may visit the office or send a letter describing the documents sought. Fees typically apply when requesting copies of mechanics lien records. Contact the clerk’s office for information on the process of conducting this search and the associated cost. 

What is a Mortgage Lien in Arkansas?

A mortgage lien is an encumbrance that gives creditors a legal claim to a property belonging to a debtor who defaults on payment. Generally, if the property owner defaults on mortgage payments and is evaluated as unable to make future payments, a mortgage lien permits the lien holder to claim and sell the property to recover the money owed (A.C.A 18-49-103). 

What is a UCC Lien in Arkansas? 

A Uniform Commercial Code (UCC) lien is a public notice of claim declaring that a property has been used to securitize debt. The UCC filing helps to notify other creditors and partners of the creditor's interest in the property. Through the filing, the lender can also determine which of the owner's assets is most suitable as collateral. The Arkansas UCC governs the filing and termination of UCC liens in the state. 

UCC Lien Search Arkansas  

Individuals may perform a UCC Lien Search and view UCC filings through the Arkansas Secretary of State's Office. The office maintains the UCC system for all search and request purposes. 

To do a UCC lien search, the requester must access the UCC Online Search and Filing System using their INA (Information Network of Arkansas) subscriber account. Furthermore, the searcher must provide information such as the debtor's name, creditor name, or file number. The search results provide information on the individuals involved, the filing date, and the type of collateral involved.

What is a Lien Title in Arkansas?

A lien title is a legal claim an individual files against another person's property title. When a buyer decides to finance a payment instead of the whole purchase price, the court adds a lien to the asset title. When a property's owner uses the asset as security to get a loan from a lending organization, the court may also add a lien to the property title.

In Arkansas, the lien title is a protection for the holder in cases where the buyer fails to meet the conditions of the contract with the lienholder. Such cases include failure to repay a loan at the right time or not making the scheduled payments on an asset. The lienholder can avoid potential losses by taking possession of the financed asset or filing a claim over the collateralized asset.

Arkansas Title Lien Search

Arkansas Title Lien Search is a legal process of searching a property's public documents to find out the valid owner of a property within the state. Individuals may conduct a title lien search at the Circuit Clerk's office in a specific property's location. This office provides and maintains a property record search portal. 

However, the search is only possible if the requester has an INA (Information Network of Arkansas) subscriber account. The requester can log in and use the state Title, Registration, and Lien Record Search portal to perform a title search.

Free Title Lien Search in Arkansas

An individual can perform a free title lien search on a property in Arkansas through the Circuit Clerk's office in various counties. Each Circuit Clerk's office is responsible for keeping land records like deeds, which provide information on the current property owner. 

Besides the clerk’s office, it is also possible to do free lien searches on third-party websites. These sites are useful when a searcher wishes to find liens in several jurisdictions. Free searches are typically offered as an introductory offer to new users but the results may be limited. Users who wish to obtain additional details may need to pay a one-time fee or set up a subscriber account. 

Note, however, that third-party lien search service providers are independent of government sources of public records. As such, there is no guarantee of the completeness and accuracy of the information obtained. Thus, the records obtained cannot be used for official purposes, such as determining creditworthiness.  

What is a Judgement Lien in Arkansas? 

A judgement lien in Arkansas is a legal way to ensure that the creditor or person who wins the judgement gets what the debtor owes. Here, the creditor gets the right to receive a certain amount from selling the debtor's property. In Arkansas, a person can place a judgement lien on properties only, which includes lands, houses, and condos.

A judgement lien on a debtor's property is automatically on records in Arkansas when the court passes the judgement. However, judgement lien may not be operative on the property in a particular county if the county court issues a judgement where the Clerk of the Court does not have a permanent office and the judgement records are not up to date. This change is only effective until a certified copy of the judgement is filed at the county's Circuit Clerk's office (A.C.A. § 16-65-117). 

Arkansas Judgement Lien Search

One way to conduct an Arkansas Judgement Lien Search is to query the Circuit Clerk's office on county levels where a judgement debtor has a property. Each office offers free lien searches in person or online, where requesters can obtain copies of lien records. 

Alternatively, interested persons can access the Title, Registration, and Lien Record Search through the DFA website. It provides information on judgement liens against real estate properties like houses, lands, and condos in Arkansas. The INA subscription services in this department require all requesters to create an account that will provide access to judgement liens.

How to Get a Lien Release in Arkansas 

A release of lien or lien release in Arkansas is a document that serves as an official notice of the removal of the lien to the debtor. The process for a lien release may differ depending on the type of lien and the asset that the lien involves. 

The lien holder may send an official Release of Lien (Form 10-315) once the property owner clears all debts. The lien holder must sign the release in the presence of a signatory witness before recording the document in the Circuit Clerk's office in the specific property's location. All documents the lien holder may submit for recording must meet Arkansas's standardized form (Ark. Code Sec. 14-15-402.).

To apply for a lien release in Arkansas, visit the local Arkansas State Revenue Office locations with the necessary information. This information includes the names and addresses of the lien holder, a description of the property, the amount involved, and the holder's signature. 

Requesters may apply for a lien release in person or via mail at the Department of Finance and Administration. All applicants must allow at least three weeks of processing time to receive the new lien-free title.

How to Get a Copy of a Lien Release in Arkansas

Any person interested in getting a copy of a lien release in Arkansas is to pay off the debt owed to the lienholder. For example, individuals may obtain a copy of a lien release letter in Arkansas through the recorder's office across the state during business hours.

Each office ensures that all requests are quickly sent in person, online, through mail, or downloadable forms. After submission, the agency in charge may sign a form of Release within a specific time frame. However, interested persons must request the recorder's office in the county where the lien is released. 

Note that a fee may apply when requesting a copy of the lien release in Arkansas.

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