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Construction liens are usually the result of unpaid renovations conducted on your property.

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As an example, imagine that you hire a contractor to re-landscape your backyard. You give the general contractor a sum of money to complete the job, which might include planting, installing a pool, and constructing a fence. The general contractor might, in turn, use some of that money to hire subcontractors to complete specific tasks e.

How to look up deeds and land records to research a property's history

What happens if your general contractor fails to pay one of these subcontractors or suppliers? These subcontractors and suppliers are not in contract with you as the owner, meaning that they cannot sue you for breach of contract. However, they can file a lien on your property in the office of the county clerk.

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Typically, this would cause a dispute between you and your general contractor, and you would try to force the contractor to pay off the lien. Other, less common involuntary liens include judgment liens, which are imposed to secure payment of a court judgment, and child support liens, which can be imposed based on unpaid child support.

Both require court approval before they can be imposed on the homeowner. Liens may be "perfected" or "unperfected. Perfection is generally accomplished by taking steps required by law to give third party creditors notice of the lien. The fact that an item of property is in the hands of the creditor usually constitutes perfection.

Where the property remains in the hands of the debtor, some further step must be taken, like recording a notice of the security interest with the appropriate office. If you are planning on selling property that has a lien on it, it is unlikely that the sale will close unless the debt is taken care of.

Land Records - Library and Archives Canada

A buyer will expect liens to be paid to allow for a transfer of clear title. When purchasing real estate, it is important to make sure there is no lien on the property that will keep you from securing a clear title to the property.

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Generally, a bank or other mortgage lender will not provide mortgage financing until all liens on the property have been removed. A title search will usually indicate whether or not a lien exists and whether the seller is the legally recognized property owner. It should also indicate the exact legal description of the property, as well as providing details regarding a lien or other encumbrances against the title. You can conduct your own search at the county clerk's office in the property's county.

Land Records

Some county clerks have websites that allow for title searches on the Internet, but these may not provide complete records. Therefore, you may want to hire an attorney or an abstract company to conduct the title search for you. The law does not require that liens be removed before title to property can be sold or transferred. But the lien will need to be cleared up if the buyer needs financing or wants clear title. If property is transferred without the lien being paid off, it remains on the property.


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Thus, in transfers between relatives, the new owner may be willing to take title to property that already has liens encumbering it. If you have a property lien dispute, contact an experienced real estate attorney to help you resolve the dispute. Skip to Main Content.

Society has become so distrustful -- I've been asked why I want to know who a particular property was last transferred to, and what difference does it make why? Yes, I know if there's a house, just go knock on the door and ask is the obvious solution, and please don't suggest Canada or Google as those have been tried; remember that some land is vacant. Maybe I'm mistaken and it's "illegal" to disclose this information when it's not done through ServiceOntario for their prescribed fee?

Thinking seriously about the 4 S's Sun, Sand, Surf and Get over it. You'll spend more time researching ways of avoiding the meagre charge Pay up. Welcome to good ol' Ontario and as long as an incompetent provincial government is still in power, more user fees and higher user fees are coming to a location near you. It's not about privacy, everything is about commerce.