A lien is a right to retain possession of another person’s property pending payment of a debt. For example, a garage might not allow the owner of a car to retrieve it until the work they have done has been paid for. The holder of the property is not usually able to deal with it unless there is a contractual or statutory provision permitting this.
A lien may be:
- Legal (or possessory).
A legal lien can arise from a common law right, from contract or from statute. It is dependent on the creditor having rightfully obtained possession of the property and remains in force whilst the property is retained.
An equitable lien may arise from contract or by law of equity. It is the right to have property realised to satisfy outstanding debts and does not depend on possession of the property. It is based on the principle that possession of property under a contract for payment will not be allowed without payment.
 Related articles on Designing Buildings Wiki
Featured articles and news
High quality and high density homes - is it what we need or is it storing up trouble?
Government announces its intention to strengthen planning rules to protect music venues and neighbours.
National Audit Office reports that there is little evidence that PFI offers better value than other forms of contracting.
What is liquidation and how does it apply to contractors in the construction industry?
Scrutiny is placed on Carillion's controversial 2013 decision to extend subcontractor payment terms to 120 days.
RSHP unveil their involvement in a boundary crossing which will provide a new entry point into Hong Kong.
With PFI currently under the spotlight due to Carillion, this introductory article explains what they are.
Estimates suggest that up to 30,000 small firms could be at risk of non-payment as a result of Carillion's collapse.
Sir Oliver Letwin to lead an independent review into the delays in the delivery of housing.
As Carillion collapses, read our article explaining insolvency in the construction industry.
43,000 jobs at risk as Carillion declares insolvency.