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New Mexico Lien Records

What is a Lien in New Mexico?

A lien in New Mexico gives a creditor security interest or a legal claim to a debtor's assets. A liened asset serves as collateral and guarantees that a creditor's interests are protected. A lien can be established in different ways: voluntarily or involuntarily. In many cases, a lien applies to assets; therefore, it may be impossible or challenging to transfer a liened asset.

Liens have different focus areas; while some apply to property, others to public funds, hospitals, and taxes. Liens can also be specific or general; specific liens apply to certain assets, while general liens apply to all of a debtor's assets. New Mexico has lien exemptions; therefore, liens may not apply to certain assets. In New Mexico, liens have timelines; creditors must file and enforce a lien within certain time limits. Whichever the case, liens may only be enforced following a judicial order issued by New Mexico courts.

Types of Lien in New Mexico

There are several types of liens in New Mexico. The kind of debt a person owes would determine the type of lien placed on their property. Types of liens include general judgment lien, tax lien, mechanics lien, mortgage lien, IRS lien, child support lien, Uniform Commercial Code (UCC) lien, e.t.c. Factors that could cause a person to run into debt include loans, lawsuits, purchases, unfulfilled agreements, etc.

Liens may be specific or general. A specific lien may apply only to a particular property, e.g., a car, a house, etc.). On the other hand, a general lien may affect all assets owned by the lienee, including their bank accounts.

New Mexico liens may also be categorized as consensual liens, requiring the owner's consent, or involuntary/statutory liens, which are backed by federal or state laws and do not require the owner's agreement.

What is a Property Lien in New Mexico?

A New Mexico property lien is a security charge imposed on a debtor's property. The lien is an assurance that a debtor will repay a loan. A creditor has a legal claim to a property if the debtor cannot meet up with the agreed terms. The creditor can seize the property and sell the property to make up the loan's value. Property liens can apply to property like cars, boats, or houses. There are several types of liens that apply to property in New Mexico. Examples of these are property tax liens, mechanic liens, mortgages, federal and state tax liens, and child support liens. There are property exemptions in New Mexico; creditors may not possess or sell exempt properties. A property lien attaches to the property title, which will make the property not transferable.

How Do You Know if a Property Has a Lien in New Mexico?

There are various ways to know if a property has a lien in New Mexico -- however, these processes vary across different counties within the state. For example, Bernalillo County, Sandoval County, Santa Fe County, Eddy County, and a few others in New Mexico allow persons to conduct a property search using the property search feature on their websites. With this property search, a person can acquire information on that property. However, some other counties do not have this feature.

However, requesting a title deed search in the county clerk's office is the easiest way to know if a property has a lien on it. This search would reveal the owners of that property and any liens or claims placed on that property.

What is a Tax Lien in New Mexico?

The New Mexico Taxation and Revenue department files liens against tax delinquents or persons who fail to meet up with tax payments in the state. These could be property taxes, income taxes, or other types of taxes in the state. A lien can harm the debtor's credit rating; however, the state releases the lien once the debtor pays the outstanding taxes.

Property tax liens apply to the debtor's real property; the state may take possession of a property tax delinquent's property, which could lead to a foreclosure. New Mexico does not sell tax liens; however, the Property Tax Division of the Taxation and Revenue Department may sell properties belonging to tax delinquents in a public auction after three (3) years of accumulated payments.

The statute of limitation for tax liens in New Mexico is ten (10) years. When a delinquent pays a substantial part of outstanding taxes, the Taxation and Revenue Department may file a complete or partial lien release. However, when ten (10) years have passed since the department first filed a lien, state laws assume that the debtor has paid the taxes and the holder can no longer enforce the lien.

What is a Mortgage Lien in New Mexico?

In New Mexico, a mortgage loan allows interested parties to finance house purchases; instead of paying the house's cost at once, the mortgagor may spread the payment over a period. A mortgage brings a lien on a property, meaning that the house is collateral for the mortgage. If a homeowner does not make mortgage payments, the mortgagee may take possession of the property. Unlike other types of property liens, a mortgage is a voluntary lien; this means that a property owner willingly takes action, in this case, the mortgage loan, that puts a lien on the property. The New Mexico Mortgage Finance Authority Act guides mortgage financing in the state.

What is a Mechanics Lien in New Mexico?

In New Mexico, a mechanics lien is filed when a contractor or material supplier is not paid for services rendered for the construction, repair, or alteration of a property. The lien grants the creditor security interest in the property. The contractor must file a 60-day preliminary notice if:

  • The contractor does not have a direct agreement with the property owner
  • The claim is more than $5000
  • The construction, repair, or alteration is not on a residential property with four (4) houses.

Otherwise, the contractor or material supplier must file a mechanic lien within 90 days of completing the project or offering a service. Additionally, the contractor must enforce the lien within two (2) years of filing. It is impossible to extend the filing deadline.

What is a UCC Lien?

A Uniform Commercial Code (UCC) lien gives a creditor security interest in the debtor's business or personal or business property. A UCC lien makes business collateral for a loan or other financial obligations. The Uniform Commercial Code is a set of laws that apply to business transactions across all states in the United States. A creditor may file a UCC lien with the Secretary of State to publicly notify the debtor or the creditor's interest in the debtor's personal or business property. In construction, material suppliers file UCC liens to recover a debt. Typically, UCC filings are public.

What is a Judgment Lien in New Mexico?

A judgment lien in New Mexico is a court order that enforces payment by a debtor to a creditor. In a civil court case or lawsuit, the court may award damages as part of its sentence.

The defendant must then pay the plaintiff the amount that the court specifies.

In New Mexico, judgment liens are only applicable to real property like a house. A creditor may file a judgment in the New Mexico county where the debtor currently owns property or where the debtor is likely to own property in the future. New Mexico homestead exemptions apply to judgment liens. A creditor must enforce a judgment lien within 14 years of filing; the judgment lien will no longer be enforceable after this period.

Voluntary Lien Vs. Involuntary Lien in New Mexico?

In New Mexico, a voluntary lien is one that the debtor consents to add to the debtor's property or assets. An example of a voluntary lien is a mortgage, where the mortgagor agrees to have a lien on the house by taking the mortgage. An involuntary lien is one that a creditor files without the debtor's awareness. Mechanics, tax, and judgment liens are examples of involuntary liens.

How Do I Check for Liens in New Mexico?

New Mexico classifies liens as public records that can be viewed offline and sometimes online. Some counties make recorded documents available online, and registered persons can conduct searches by name, number, type, recording date, grantor/grantee, etc. However, not all counties are online.

For counties that do not have their records online, a person would have to physically visit the County Clerk's office or contact them via phone or mail requests. That is one way to check for liens in New Mexico quickly.

Free Lien Search in New Mexico

In New Mexico, the county clerk's office may provide free lien searches for individuals. To conduct a lien search in New Mexico at no charge, visit the county clerk's office. If the County has a provision for online search, it is also a good option. Alternatively, the requester might send an email directly to the county office.

An individual seeking to use the county search may need to provide their name, home and company address, and phone number. The individual should adequately describe the records request to help the records custodian quickly identify and locate the requested records.

The Office of the Secretary of State in New Mexico provides online access to navigate information on their database using the Online Search feature. Lien searches are not found on the website. However, it offers a list of businesses that do provide these searches.

How Creditors Collect Payment Through a Lien in New Mexico

A creditor or lienholder who places a lien against a property legally has a claim on that property. The lienholder may sell a property that has a lien on it, may repossess it, or take other legal actions against that property to recover their credit.

Concerning a mechanics lien, after the claimant has drafted, filed, and appropriately served a lien enforcement action (which is a lawsuit) according to the jurisdiction rules where they recorded the lien, it might be necessary to file a foreclosure lawsuit. If successful, the sheriff will arrange a judicial auction of the property. After a successful sale and a redemption period (the property owner may recover their property by paying the winning bid and associated costs), the claimant will receive the amount owed. In some cases, they may also recover the attorneys' fees, and court costs too.

How Do I Get a Lien Removed in New Mexico?

In New Mexico, a judgment lien remains valid on the debtor's property for 14 years. Even if ownership of the property is transferred during this period, the lien remains valid. And after expiry, the creditor can re-file the lien.

A lienholder will only remove a lien after the loan debt has been paid off (which is advisable) or if it is proven that the lienholder placed the lien illegally. After meeting the lien requirements, the lienee should ensure that the lienholder files a release. Without the release, the lien remains on the property.

How Long Does a Lien Stay on Your Property in New Mexico?

In New Mexico, a judgment lien can only be placed on real estate (buildings and similar properties). According to New Mexico's senate bill 892, a judgment lien will remain attached to the lienee's property for 14 years, even if ownership is transferred. New Mexico laws also allow a mechanics claim successfully filed by a party, to remain on the property for a two-year timeline.