aircraft claim of lien

What is an Aircraft Claim of Lien? A 2022 Update

When buying used goods, contemporary consumers are always urged to err on the side of caution. Thrift stores may sometimes carry defective goods, and online marketplaces are full of scam deals by people trying to part with broken appliances and other damaged items. Unfortunately, you don’t always have the option of looking into an item’s past before purchasing it. Aircraft owners may find themselves in a similar situation if they purchase a used aircraft, only to find that there is a claim of lien on the title.

A lien is a legal right to a particular asset or property which serves as collateral until a specific debt is satisfied. An aircraft claim of lien can be asserted by someone who hasn’t been fully compensated for services rendered on the aircraft. This means that anyone who has provided storage, repair, or maintenance on an aircraft can claim it as their own if they have not been paid for their services by the owner of the aircraft when those services were provided. As the new owner, you will be responsible for any outstanding debt, even if you were not the owner when the services were provided.

aircraft claim of lien

What Should I Do if There is A Claim of Lien on the Title?

This depends on when you learn about the aircraft claim of lien. If you have acquired an abstract of title before purchasing an aircraft, you have access to the aircraft’s legal, financial, and maintenance history. An abstract of title is essentially a summary of important activity regarding the aircraft. Obtaining this before purchase is the fastest and easiest way to learn if there is a claim of lien or any other potential issues.

How Do I Clear Up a Claim of Lien?

If you learn about the claim of lien after purchase, there are still options that can allow you to own and operate your aircraft without worry. Regardless of when you learn about the lien, you should file a record of the aircraft claim of lien here on the National Aviation Center’s website. The good news is that, while a surprising claim of lien can be frustrating to deal with, they are not very uncommon. This means that most teams have experience dealing with them, and will be able to help you too.

Are There Different Types of Liens?

The nature of the lien can vary due to the multiple factors involved. For example, a mechanic’s lien is one of the most commonly seen on aircraft, and in the contexts of aircrafts the term may be used interchangeably with ‘claim of lien’. However, they can be harder to find when searching through an aircraft title’s history because of the way it’s filed or debtee’s state (more specifically, the state where the lien is owed). 

What is a Lien Release?

If you have yet to purchase your aircraft because of the lien, the next step you’ll want to take is to satisfy the lien. Since you are not yet the owner then the lien is not your responsibility. The person who filed the lien should not only satisfy the terms but also get a lien release on the title. This will remove it from the record; simply paying off whatever is owed might not be enough to have the lien formally removed because a lien may be under the oversight of multiple jurisdictions. A lien release must be obtained from each. The entire process is heavily dependent on how accurate the FAA’s information is, and once the lien is cleared then the FAA needs to be formally notified.

Acquiring the lien release can be difficult if the aircraft was purchased from another country or if the original buyer was a corporate entity that has gone out of business or merged with another company. When this happens it may cost you extra to find the name of the specific lien-holder.

If you have already purchased an aircraft that has an aircraft claim of lien then you are responsible for it. This means you not only have to pay it off, but you also need to contact every entity with jurisdiction over the lien.

How Can I Record an Aircraft Claim of Lien?

Different municipalities and states have different requirements for handling a claim of lien. The FAA may not have some of that information if the lien is owed in a state which doesn’t require it to be filed with the FAA. If you’re looking to have your claim of lien formally recorded, our website provides you with a fast and easy way to make sure that information reaches the right hands. Simply fill out and upload an application on our secure website, and we will take care of the rest.