When The Government Seizes Your Home

Real Estate LawyerIt’s relatively uncommon to hear of a government-sanctioned home seizure. But that doesn’t mean that things like such don’t happen. Certain circumstances may give the government the right to seize someone’s property. And when this happens, only a real estate lawyer can provide ample defense against it. But why does it happen; and how can one deal with it?

Why It Happens

There are five common instances which prompt the government to seize a private property. For example, a property may be considered condemned; if so, the authorities take control of the land to likely convert it for public use. A “judicial lien” can also happen, wherein a property’s title is taken when a foreclosure resulting in a judicial sale is involved. Tax issues can also prompt a government takeover, as well as civil forfeiture (when the property is involved in a crime), and intentions for private economic development.

Most of the time, however, a property may be seized even if its owners aren’t actually charged with a crime (see civil forfeiture). U.S. law states that all it takes is mere suspicion of a crime, during an instance which agencies like the Department of Justice or even the IRS can step in. The law’s original intent is to justify the seizure of a money launderer/drug dealer’s assets, though its major drawback is its lackadaisical requirement threshold.

Defending Against It

Just this May, Rep. James Sensenbrenner of the state of Wisconsin introduced a bill aiming to protect private property from seizure without ample evidence. It was subsequently approved by the House Judiciary Committee a mere week after its introduction. Known as the Due Process Act, the bill is part of a multifaceted effort which aims to protect both individuals and businesses upon committing unintentional violations of the Criminal Code Improvement Act of 2015.

This legislation is something that stands on universal moral grounds. There’s obviously a need to fully and adequately establish an organization or individual’s guilt in terms of using private property as an accessory to a crime. California state representative Darrell Issa is among its fervent supporters, believing that law enforcement must not make a habit of seizing property without sufficient proof of a criminal offense. It’s also something that unwary accused parties can exploit when matters are taken to court.

Strictly for Property Owners: Just Received a Mechanic’s Lien

Real Estate LawyerAlthough the term “mechanic’s lien” might cause you to think about a lien that’s place on something like a car due to repair costs that require payment, a mechanical lien is attached to real estate such as buildings or lands by individuals who supplied labor or materials for the property’s improvement.

To illustrate, let’s say that a contractor renovated your master bath, you could potentially face a mechanic’s lien filed by a subcontractor regardless if you’ve already paid your contractors all that you owe them. When this happens, you’ll be unable to sell or even refinance your house without settling the lien, or worst, you might even be faced with foreclosure.

Filing Requirements for Mechanic’s Liens in Colorado

Luckily for you and other homeowners, Colorado has stringent rules about obtaining and filing a mechanic’s lien on real estate. For instance, the complainants should file a lien within four months following their last labor performance or materials delivery, unless they only performed labor. In this case, they should file within two months of their last performance of labor.

In addition, prior to the filing of a lien, the complainant should first file a notice of their intent to file a lien within 10 days of actually filing the mechanic’s lien. This notice of intent should likewise be served to you, as well as your prime contractor, in the event that the complainant is a subcontractor, to give you a chance to resolve the matter.

What You Could Do

In the event that a complainant has already placed a mechanic’s lien on your property or if you’ve already received their notice of intent, your best recourse is to seek help from a real estate lawyer. A real estate lawyer in Denver may agree that some of the most common issues that could lead to a defective lien include:

  • Work on your property is still ongoing.
  • Failing to meet the deadlines related to filing a lien.
  • The work delivered was outside not included in the original contract.
  • A lien statement containing incomplete or relevant details.

Your attorney will be able to evaluate your case and figure out if any of these aforementioned defenses could apply.