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Placing an Automobile Lien: Obtaining a Secured Interest from an Unsecured Final Judgment

Placing an Automobile Lien: Obtaining a Secured Interest from an Unsecured Final Judgment

So you have taken your debtor to court and have received a final judgment. Now it’s time to think about what steps you can take to increase your likelihood of recovery of the debt you are owed. One attractive and cost-effective remedy is to place a lien on your debtor’s vehicle, even if the debt is unrelated to that car, truck, boat, or ATV.

Why Use an Automobile Lien?

In today’s world, almost everyone has a vehicle, all of which are subject to Florida’s titling requirements. Many debtors find it necessary to finance their vehicles through a lender, which gives the financing party a first lien in the vehicle. However, did you know as a judgment creditor, you can encumber the vehicle’s title simply by adding your judgment as an additional lien? By inserting your interest as a subsequent lien holder, you can give yourself an interest secured by the vehicle.

Advantages to Keep in Mind

Liens provide you with a very effective, practically immediate remedy and can be placed on the debtor’s assets at a very reasonable cost. Additionally, once the lien is placed on the vehicle, it travels with the vehicle, meaning it isn’t extinguished until you authorize its release (typically for payment received).  Below are some additional reasons to seek recovery of your debt through the placement of liens:

  • Many vehicle owners look forward to the day they own their vehicle outright. Your lien against the vehicle’s title acts to frustrate that goal. If the debtor is motivated to own the vehicle ‘free and clear,’ he or she will be forced to work with you.
  • A lien against the title places you as a subsequent named lienholder on the face of all newly printed titles. In the event the defendant wishes to trade the vehicle in or sell it to a third party, your interest as a lienholder will be apparent to anyone that sees it. Knowing the vehicle comes with additional liens makes it less attractive to future buyers, which again encourages the debtor to come to you to address his debt.
  • Any dealer that accepts a liened vehicle takes it subject to your lien. This means if the dealer wishes to re-sell the car or truck, they will be forced to come to you, seeking a lien release. This is another very effective tool for recovery.
  • Liens are also able to be placed on all assets requiring a title, including boats, motorcycles, business vehicles, all terrain vehicles, trailers, or other assets subject to titling requirement of the State.

Helping You Through the Process

It’s important to note that for a lien placement to be effective, both the Court and the Department of Motor Vehicles require detailed information and exact procedures to be followed, so you must employ an experienced professional to ensure your lien is valid, and more importantly, ultimately collectable.

The attorneys at Hiday & Ricke are very experienced with lien placement, the negotiation with debtors and third parties of a lien release for payment, and the procedures required by the Court and the DMV regarding matters such. We have placed thousands of liens throughout the State of Florida, across a variety of different assets. If you would like to know more about lien placements, give us a call today at (904) 363 2769.

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