If you purchase a house, can a lien be placed on it for a previous owner’s liability?

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If you purchase a house, can a lien be placed on it for a previous owner’s liability?

This deal is being done through owner financing. A title search came back clean. If something was missed, like a lien, do we become responsible or the seller’s daughter? Also, can Medicaid or Medicare place the lien on my husband and me?

Asked on January 24, 2011 under Real Estate Law, Georgia

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 10 years ago | Contributor

1) A lien cannot be *later* put on a home for a previous owner's liability; that is, if there was no lien at the time you took title, one cannot later be placed due to something a former owner did or owed.

2) However, if there was a lien on the home previously, that lien will most likely be good even if it did not show during the title search. However, the search company's failure to find and identify the lien may require it to pay the lien or take other action to clear title--i.e. if the title company missed a lien, you may have a cause of action against that company and/or a claim against any title insurance it provided.

3) A lien is not placed on people, but on property. Medicaid or Medicare cannot put a lien--or take any other collection action--against you for another's debt, but if you or your husband have incurred a debt, they can take action against you or your assets.


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