A lien gives you personal interest in the property of a debtor who owes you money. Once your lien is filed, the debtor cannot sell his property with clear title unless he pays the amount owed to you. In New Jersey, you fill out a form called a Statement for Docketing to obtain a judgment lien. Once the lien is filed or "docketed," it is your responsibility to enforce it. The court cannot enforce the lien for you. In New Jersey, a judgment lien is enforceable for 20 years and is renewable for another 20 years.
Obtain the full mailing address of the debtor. You want to make sure you have the correct mailing address and location of the property. You should go to the property location for inspection. Alternatively, you can do a search of public records. You want to be absolutely sure that he is the owner of the property.
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Request a Statement for Docketing form from the Clerk of the Special Civil Part in the county where you initially filed your small claims lawsuit.
Fill in the docket number assigned to your case, as well as the defendant's full name, property address, amount of the debt owed, and your contact information on the Statement for Docketing form.
File the Statement for Docketing form with the Clerk of the Superior Court, Hughes, Justice Complex, PO Box 971, Trenton, NJ 08625. The filing fee is $10 made payable to: Treasurer, State of New Jersey.
New Jersey imposes a 1.5 percent annual interest on liens. It is your responsibility to keep track of accrued interest, payments received from the debtor and your incurred costs. If the amount owed is over $15,000, the base judgment interest rate is 2 percent. As part of your collections effort, you can ask the court for a Writ of Execution, which gives you the right to levy the debtor's personal property to pay what he owes. Personal property consists of money in bank accounts, vehicles, and personal items the debtor owns.