Creditor's conditional right of ownership (called security interest) against a debtor's asset or property that bars its sale or transfer without paying off the creditor. In a contractual arrangement, a lien is the right of a contracting-party to take possession of a specific asset of the other contracting party, in case the contract is not performed according to its terms. A mortgage agreement is a lien on the mortgaged property and a bond is a lien on the bond issuer's assets. Liens are also granted by the courts to satisfy a judgment against a losing defendant. All liens are for a limited period (which varies with the jurisdiction), apply only to the asset or property that forms part of an express or implied contract, and (if attached to a real property) must be properly registered to be valid and enforceable. In case of a default, the party holding the lien (called lienholder or lienor) generally does not except in the case of a special lien have an automatic right to seize and sell the asset or property, but must obtain a foreclosure order after giving a reasonable notice to the debtor or obligor (called lienee).
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