Real Estate News

Georgia court decides against 'super liens'

Published: 31 May 2017

A May 2017 legal conclusion will likely affect the future of property owners and investors in Georgia, according to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. The action, decided on May 15, is reportedly a stand against the "super lien," a situation where a homeowner could be forced to pay off existing debts faster after the property goes up to auction.

Thanks to the end of a case that dates back to 2015, Design Acquisition vs. M7ven Supportive Housing and Development Group, homeowners may now be less vulnerable to the complex and fast-moving process that combines multiple debts to help buyers make money from a relatively small initial lien.

In a different article on this decision for the same source, Mark Thompson, an attorney involved with the case, explained that super liens exist because they are hard to parse.

"When you start to get into the nitty gritty of it, people's eyes just glaze over," Thompson said. That's how they bamboozled judges about this stuff. It's complicated. It's hard to follow."

The same article said that this complexity also made it difficult to do anything about it in local legislature, at least according to one state politician. One incentive for buyers in this case seemed to be the "excess funds," which could switch out of the homeowner's hands. The new ruling prevents this for those who simply hold a lien, possibly through an auction.

Realtor.com recently said that liens could affect homes during a sale, making it important to discover and resolve any of these outstanding debts. The lien could be due to unpaid taxes or bills, and there might be several of these that contribute to an overriding problem with the home. As part of the title insurance buying process, owners can have a company perform a title search to avoid these financial burdens.