There are many different types of secured debt, but many would not concern anyone outside of the finance profession. Mortgages and mechanic's liens, however, are almost synonymous with real estate. They are therefore often relevant to investors, homeowners, commercial landlords and small business.
Both of these types of liabilities are often secured against real property. They may both result in foreclosure. However, that is where the similarities end, for the most part.
Most people are familiar with the way a mortgage works. A lender issues currency so that a borrower might acquire property. Important elements include a specific payment plan and the vendor's right to take the property if the debtor does not follow the agreement. As mentioned on the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau website, both parties must agree to the terms of a mortgage before any liability could occur.
Liens, on the other hand, form as a result of the law. Mechanic's liens are common and new home purchases and remodels alike. As explained on FindLaw, these liens originate from unpaid subcontractors. If a property owner employs someone to coordinate home improvement and that designated party does not pay the individual workers, that could form a legitimate claim on the improved property.
Claims involving both of these types of debts are often complicated by several factors, including tight timelines, the number of parties involved and the extent to which federal and other jurisdictional regulations affect the nature of the liability. Furthermore, especially the case of mechanic's liens, there are often strongly opposed economic interests on either side.
As mentioned in FindLaw, the best way to remedy mechanic's liens is often to attempt to prevent them. Once the lien is on a parcel of property, various other measures may still be useful. These could include mediation, a court order or a suit against the general contractor to retrieve damages caused by the debt.