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Gephardt: How To Get Old Lien Lifted Off Your Home When Lender Goes Under

WEST VALLEY CITY, UtahImagine not being able to sell or refinance your home over a debt that you do not owe. That’s what happened to a West Valley City woman, who only learned a lien was on her house when she tried to refinance.

The issue was the company that slapped a lien on her home is long gone.

Colleen Parker had hoped to get refinancing so she could put in a hot tub, but her application was rejected.

“Because I can’t get them to take out the lien,” Parker explained.

Them is a bail bond company that tacked on the lien decades ago after Parker’s daughter got into some legal trouble and needed bail money to get out of jail. Parker said she and her daughter paid off the bail bondsman in full, but unbeknownst to her, the company never took off the lien.

“It’s been 20 years. I just barely found out about it,” she said.

Parker said she called the county recorder’s office to ask about removing the lien, but was told that can only be done by whoever put it there.

“I don’t know how to get it off,” she said. “So, how do I get it off?”

The KSL Investigators took Parker’s case to attorney Miles LeBaron. He said there were a few things people could do when an old lien is placed on their property without a lender.

The first and cheapest thing to do, he said, was to ask a title company to basically look past the lien and let a borrower refinance anyway.

“Say, ‘Here’s the facts. What can we do? Can you close over?’” suggested LeBaron. “And I’ve actually done that on behalf of clients in my practice over the years where I’ll just contact the underwriter and say (something) like: ‘This is ridiculous! Why won’t you guys just close over it?’”

If that first option does not work, the second option involved taking your case to court and asking a judge to tell the county to remove the lien. Between court fees and lawyer fees, you could expect to pay a couple thousand dollars.

LeBaron said the easiest thing you can do is contact the person who put the lien on your home and ask him or her to take it off.

Parker said she found the attorney who placed the lien on her home 20 years ago on behalf of the defunct bail bond company, but he would not return her calls or emails.

“I want the lien off my house,” she said.

LeBaron added that if one title company tells you they cannot look past an old lien and allow you to refinance – there is nothing wrong with going to a different title company for refinancing.

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