Can I file a lien against my brothers property if he owes me money?

UPDATED: Sep 30, 2022

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Can I file a lien against my brothers property if he owes me money?

I am currently living in my brothers old home. I gave him 22,000 dollars for
an investment which he promised to pay back, however the deal went bad.
He is trying to sell house, however, I am unable to move because I need that
22000 to move

Asked on July 31, 2017 under Real Estate Law, New York


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 5 years ago | Contributor

No, you can't file a lis pendens: a lis pendens is filed when there is a lawsuit over who owns property or who has some other right over it, but is inappropriate when you are entitled to money only, as you are. 
You can sue him for the money if, per the terms of the agreement, he should have repaid you already (e.g. there was a repayment date in the agreement, which he missed). IF you win the lawsuit and he still doesn't pay, THEN you may be able to put a lien on the home to secure payment. The problem is, since he did not have you a mortgage or other right to the home, your only interest is being repaid money, not in the property, which means you can only file a lien as a way to collect *after* you sue him, win, and get a judgment in your favor.
Note that if there was no firm date for repayment in your loan agreement which he has violated, he has not breached or violated the agreement and you can't necessarily sue him: e.g. if he was not supposed to pay yet, he has done nothing legally wrong.

IMPORTANT NOTICE: The Answer(s) provided above are for general information only. The attorney providing the answer was not serving as the attorney for the person submitting the question or in any attorney-client relationship with such person. Laws may vary from state to state, and sometimes change. Tiny variations in the facts, or a fact not set forth in a question, often can change a legal outcome or an attorney's conclusion. Although has verified the attorney was admitted to practice law in at least one jurisdiction, he or she may not be authorized to practice law in the jurisdiction referred to in the question, nor is he or she necessarily experienced in the area of the law involved. Unlike the information in the Answer(s) above, upon which you should NOT rely, for personal advice you can rely upon we suggest you retain an attorney to represent you.

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