Which liens survive foreclosure?

Which liens survive foreclosure?


When a property undergoes foreclosure, it is crucial to understand which liens can survive the process. Liens are legal claims or encumbrances on a property that provide security for the payment of a debt or obligation. In this article, we will explore the types of liens that can survive foreclosure and the implications they have on the property’s ownership and transferability.

Types of Liens

Mortgage Liens: A mortgage lien is the most common type of lien associated with a foreclosure. When a homeowner fails to make mortgage payments, the lender can initiate foreclosure proceedings to recover the debt. In many cases, mortgage liens take priority over other liens on the property. This means that even if other liens exist, the mortgage lien will be satisfied first from the proceeds of the foreclosure sale.

Tax Liens: Tax liens are imposed by government authorities when property taxes are not paid. These liens can also survive foreclosure, meaning that the property’s new owner will have to address the outstanding tax debt. Failure to do so can result in the tax authority foreclosing on the property again to satisfy the tax lien.

HOA Liens: Homeowners’ Association (HOA) liens can also survive foreclosure. When homeowners fail to pay their HOA fees or assessments, the HOA can place a lien on the property. This lien can be enforced through foreclosure if the debt remains unpaid, even if the property undergoes foreclosure due to other reasons such as a mortgage default.

Mechanic’s Liens: Mechanic’s liens are filed by contractors, subcontractors, or suppliers who have not been paid for work performed or materials supplied on a property. These liens generally take priority over other liens, including mortgage liens, depending on the specific state’s laws. Mechanic’s liens can survive foreclosure and can be enforced by the lienholder even after the property changes ownership.

Judgment Liens: Judgment liens are obtained through a court order when a judgment is rendered against a property owner for an unpaid debt. These liens can survive foreclosure and can be enforced by the judgment creditor even after the property is sold at a foreclosure sale.

Implications of Liens Surviving Foreclosure

When liens survive foreclosure, they can have significant implications for the property’s ownership and transferability. The new owner of the foreclosed property may become responsible for satisfying these liens to clear the title and ensure a clean transfer of ownership. Failure to address these liens can result in the new owner facing legal and financial consequences.

It is essential for potential buyers of foreclosed properties to conduct thorough due diligence to identify any liens that may survive foreclosure. This typically involves obtaining a title search or title insurance to uncover any existing liens or encumbrances on the property.


In conclusion, several types of liens can survive foreclosure, including mortgage liens, tax liens, HOA liens, mechanic’s liens, and judgment liens. These liens can have a significant impact on the property’s ownership and transferability, potentially requiring the new owner to address the outstanding debts associated with these liens. Conducting proper due diligence and obtaining a title search or title insurance is crucial for potential buyers to identify and address any liens that may survive foreclosure.


– IRS: www.irs.gov
– NOLO: www.nolo.com
– Investopedia: www.investopedia.com
– LegalMatch: www.legalmatch.com