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Taking Another Look at Judgment Liens

May 30, 1999

The statement by attorney Craig Edgecumbe (Letters, May 16) that "judgment liens, which do not have 'power of sale' provisions as do deeds of trust, are required to be paid only when the property is sold or refinanced through an escrow" is incorrect.

Although such a lien cannot be foreclosed through a nonjudicial trustee's sale, the creditor can have the sheriff or marshal sell the property to pay the lien.

Though this is a complex and lengthy procedure, it can be done at any time, and the creditor is not required to wait until a sale or refinance occurs.

Although it is true that the judgment lien never becomes a lien against the buyer, this is of little consolation if the creditor has the power to force a sale of the home.

As a practical matter, most people in California purchasing homes obtain title insurance, and the title insurer will protect the buyer from the lien. This, of course, is one of the reasons why any prudent buyer will require title insurance in any real estate purchase transaction.

LAWRENCE B. PARKER

Valley Village

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