A lien is a legal claim on property based upon a debt owed to the lien holder or creditor. It allows a creditor to use the debtor’s property as security when a debtor fails to repay a debt. It provides excellent protection for collection of a bad debt. For instance, while a debt may be discharged in bankruptcy, a creditor can still seize and sell collateral secured by a UCC lien. There are many ways to create a lien. For example, tax liens are imposed when someone forgets to pay their taxes; mortgages create liens in real estate; a judgment in a lawsuit creates a lien for the judgment amount awarded.
A UCC lien is obtained when a debtor, such as a borrower, and a creditor, such as a bank agree to ensure the repayment of the debtor’s debt with the security interest of a lien on personal property under the Uniform Commercial Code . The debtor still owns the personal property and retains possession of it, but the creditor also has an interest in it as well.
The Uniform Commercial Code (“UCC”) is a group of laws created to standardize the laws across the United States related to commercial transaction. Most states have adopted a significant portion of, if not all of, the UCC’s proposed laws. A UCC lien is a lien which has been obtained through the execution and filing of a UCC-1 financing statement, generally with the state’s Secretary of State. In New Jersey, this UCC-1 form must be filed with the New Jersey Division of Revenue and Enterprise Services. UCC liens may generally be placed on any property that is agreed to, such as equipment or vehicles.