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Arizona Lien Search

An Arizona lien search is a process by which members of the public can access lien information or obtain related documents from record custodians within state limits. Arizona lien records are maintained by county recorders, treasurers, assessors' offices, the Arizona Motor Vehicle Division (MVD), and the Arizona Secretary of State (SOS). They are also managed alongside Arizona civil court records in the state’s courts.

Lien searches are crucial for individuals looking to purchase property in Arizona. They aid the assessment of financial obligations tied to a property before purchase. This enables informed decision-making, reducing the risk of encountering legal issues and safeguarding one's investment.

What is a Lien in Arizona?

An Arizona lien is a security of interest or legal claim against a property used as collateral to satisfy a debt in Arizona. This authorizes creditors to assert their legal rights over a debtor's property. Liens remain active until a debt or duty is satisfied. 

Types of Liens in Arizona

There are different types of liens in Arizona. They are placed on assets due to unpaid property taxes, mortgages, court actions, and business taxes. A list of liens is provided in the Ariz. Rev. Stat. § 33:7; some include:

  • Farm Services Lien
  • Health Care Provider Liens
  • Innkeeper's Lien
  • Judgment Liens
  • Uniform Federal Lien 
  • Mechanics' and Materialmen's Liens
  • Personal Property Liens
  • Commercial Real Estate Broker Liens

Regardless of the specific function of a lien, they are broadly categorized into general, specific, consensual, involuntary, and statutory.

General Liens in Arizona

General liens in Arizona apply to all property owned by the lienee. These liens are attached to cars, lands, properties, and boats. Some examples of general liens are federal income tax liens, bank liens (those placed on bank accounts), and judgment liens.

Specific Liens

Specific liens apply to one particular asset the debtor owns. The value of said asset is typically equivalent to the outstanding debt. Some examples of specific liens are mortgage and mechanics liens. 

Consensual vs. Involuntary Liens

Consensual liens are also referred to as voluntary liens. They are created with the debtor's consent after they borrow money or obtain any form of credit advance. A typical example of a consensual lien is a residential mortgage. 

On the other hand, involuntary liens are placed on a person's property without mutual agreement between the creditor and the debtor. They are placed by third parties due to unpaid debt obligations. Involuntary liens can come from third parties like the Internal Revenue Service (IRS), vendors for home repairs, credit card companies, law enforcement, mechanics, a plaintiff in a lawsuit, mortgage lenders, or regulatory groups. Some examples of involuntary liens are a tax lien, a mechanics lien, or a judgement lien.

What is a Tax Lien in Arizona?

Per Ariz. Rev. Stat. § 42-1151, a tax lien is a document issued by the Department of Revenue to taxpayers who default in paying real estate taxes, interests, or penalties. Liens remain on the debtor's property until the liability or obligation is satisfied. Failure to pay delinquent taxes can cause the county government to sell a tax lien certificate to investors to recoup the delinquent taxes.

Are Tax Liens Public Records?

Yes. Tax liens are public records per the Arizona Public Records Law.

According to ARS §42-18109, Arizona County Treasurers publicize delinquent taxes in their office lobbies for at least (2) weeks before they begin their Tax Lien Sale. They also publish a copy of the list of delinquent taxes in a popular newspaper at least once every 2 to 3 weeks. This informs the public of tax liens on properties within the county. Under ARS 42-18106, members of the public would be able to view all properties with tax liens and their parcel numbers, delinquent tax amounts, the property owners' names, and the properties' legal description. 

Arizona Tax Lien Search

Interested members of the public may perform an Arizona tax lien search through the County Treasurer's and Assessor's offices, where a property owner resides or the property is located. Each custodian will likely operate unique tax lien search processes. However, requesters should be able to find tax lien records using the options below: 

Online Tax Lien Search

Most county treasurers' and assessors' offices have online portals where individuals can view tax lien information at no cost. The search parameters required to use these portals include:

  •  Parcel number
  • Taxpayer or property owner's name
  • Mailing address
  • Property address.

The Cochise County Treasurer's Office operates an Application Center where interested persons can view tax lien information. Similarly, the Santa Cruz County Assessor's Office maintains a Parcel Search tool with which inquirers can conduct a tax lien search for their jurisdiction. 

Phone Lien Searches/Requests

Interested persons may call the Treasurer of the county where the property is located to inquire about tax lien for the judicial district. All phone requests should be made during office hours from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., Monday through Friday. The contact number is usually published on the County Treasurer's website. For example, requesters can contact the Treasurer's Office at (520) 724-8341 to retrieve tax lien information on properties located in Pima County. 

In-Person Lien Searches

Requesters can visit the County Treasurer's and Assessor's offices to inspect tax lien records for free during regular business hours. However, requests for copies of tax lien records attract a nominal charge. The property owner's name or the parcel number of the property will be required to facilitate in-person tax lien searches. 

Federal Tax Lien Search

Per IRM, federal tax liens relating to Arizona real estate are filed in the county where the property is located. However, federal tax liens pertaining to personal property are recorded in the county where a taxpayer resides. Thus, inquirers may conduct a federal tax lien lookup in Arizona by querying the county recorder's office in the jurisdiction where the debtor is resident. Alternatively, requesters can procure the services of title companies or real estate attorneys for a title search. Federal tax liens may also be held and disseminated through third-party public record sites.

What is a Lien on Property in Arizona?

A lien on property in Arizona is a legal right or interest of a creditor in a property used as collateral to satisfy a debt. This lien usually lasts until a debt or duty is satisfied. Per ARS §13-1701, property includes anything that has value, whether public or private, tangible or intangible, real or personal; this includes documents evidencing value or ownership. Real property includes lands, houses, and buildings, while personal property constitutes cash, bonds, bank accounts, stocks, cars, furniture, jewelry, and cash.

Who Can Put a Lien on a Property?

Per Arizona law, any creditor can place a lien on a property. This includes contractors, local, state, or federal government agencies, auto loan companies, and mortgage lenders. To remove the lien on the property and regain ownership, the debtor must pay the amount owed or fulfill their legal/contractual obligations. 

How to Put a Lien on Property in Arizona

The process for putting a lien on a property in Arizona varies with the lien type and the creditor/debtor's circumstances. However, the following steps are similar across board:

Step 1: Secure a Preliminary Notice

In most cases, creditors will be required to notify the debtor that a lien will be filed if non-payment persists. For example, a preliminary 20-day notice must be given to debtors before filing a mechanic's lien (ARS §33-992.01). This notice must be given within 20 days after the work is completed and mailed to the debtor. 

Step 2: Review Deadlines

Arizona law imposes some lien-related deadlines. For example, the deadline for filing a mechanic's lien is 120 days after the completion of the project (ARS §33-993). However, if a Notice of Completion has been recorded, the claimant must file a construction lien 60 days after the recordation.

Step 3: Research the Property

Creditors are advised to research a property before filing a lien on it. This may be done by conducting a title search online or in person at the Recorder's Office in the county where the property is located. A title search will help individuals verify the property owner and acquire the property's legal description from the deed. This process would also inform the requester about any existing liens on the property. 

Step 4: Draft a lien

A lien document should contain details about the creditor, debtor, the property in view, and the nature of their initial agreement. Individuals can download lien forms online from government websites or visit the county recorder officers or the State Motor Vehicle Division (MVD) to get the form. For example, applicants can use the Lien Filing Form provided by the MVD to file a title lien in Arizona. 

Step 5: File the Lien

Liens are usually filed at the Recorder's Office in the county where the property is located. This excludes title liens that are filed at the MVD. Most County Recorder's Offices charge a recording fee of $30. 

Step 6: Notify All Parties Involved and Enforce the Lien

After filing the lien, the filer must notify all parties included in the lien. This includes the property owner and any other lien holders. If the debt is not paid after the notification, the filer can enforce the lien by filing a foreclosure lawsuit. This will force the property to be sold, and the proceeds will be used for debt repayment. 

How to Find a Lien on Property in Arizona

Interested members of the public may find a lien on property in Arizona through any of the following custodians:

County Recorder's Office

Inquirers may request or check for liens on property online, by email, mail, or in person at County Recorder Offices. Most Recorder Offices have online portals searchable by property owner's name, document type, address, or document number. For example, the Maricopa County Recorder's Office provides property lien lookups through its Recorded Document Search tool

Arizona Secretary of State (SOS)

The SOS provides processes property lien requests through it's online portal, by phone, mail, or in person during business hours. Inquirers will be required to provide search parameters to facilitate the search, including the debtor's name and lien/document number.

Motor Vehicle Division

Requesters can check for vehicle liens online, by phone at (602) 255-0072, or in person at the Arizona Motor Vehicle Division (MVD). Online users must create an account using their emails to sign in to the online portal. 

Alternatively, record seekers who want to find liens on a property can hire a title company or an attorney to help with the research.   

Property Lien Search By Address

To conduct a property lien search by address in Arizona, visit the Recorder's Office in the county where the property is located and request copies of the lien records. Requesters will need to provide the property's address and pay associated fees for official or certified copies. Some County Recorder Offices have online search tools where individuals can find property lien information by entering the property's address in the search portal.

Free Lien Search on Property

All County Recorder's Offices in Arizona have online portals where citizens can retrieve property lien information at no cost. Users can view, print, or download property lien records from those databases for free, but the images (if applicable) may have a watermark indicating they are uncertified and cannot be used for official purposes. For example, the Pima County Recorder's Office provides free access to property lien information through its Public Records Research Portal. Searches can be conducted by name, document number, document type, or map search. Official copies may be purchased from the online portals or at the Recorder's offices for a fee. 

What is a Mechanics Lien in Arizona?

An Arizona mechanics lien is attached to a property to secure payment for labor and other professional services. This protects the remuneration of contractors, subcontractors, architects, and builders when working on Arizona's homes, buildings, and other improvements. The guidelines for filing and releasing mechanics liens in Arizona are provided in the Ariz. Rev. Stat. §33-981 to §1008.

Arizona Mechanics Lien Search

An Arizona mechanics lien search may be performed using resources provided by County Recorder Offices. Online requesters should select mechanic lien as the document type for easy search. County Recorder Offices also process in-person queries for mechanic liens. However, these requests should be made during regular business hours. 

What is a Mortgage Lien in Arizona?

An Arizona mortgage lien is a legal claim to a person's property, which serves as collateral or security for a mortgage. This allows the lender to take possession of or sell a debtor's property to recoup outstanding debts when they default or stop making payments on their mortgage loan. 

What is a UCC Lien in Arizona?

A UCC lien is a document lenders use to establish their legal right to a borrower's property in the case of default. The Arizona Secretary of State processes this type of lien to protect financial interests on consumer goods or commercial equipment. UCC liens in Arizona are applied or established in compliance with the Uniform Commercial Code indexed in ARS title 47. 

UCC Lien Search Arizona

Record seekers can conduct a UCC lien search through the Arizona Secretary of State (SOS) Office. The most convenient method of conducting this search is online using the filing number, the debtor name, or the secured party name. To view UCC liens online in Arizona:

  • Go to the SOS website and click the "Business" menu at the top bar;
  • Select "Uniform Commercial Code (UCC)" from the dropdown;
  • Click the "UCC Lien Search" link;
  • Enter an organization name, individual name, or lien number in the appropriate search box;
  • Select the box at the last section of the search area to view all search results.

UCC lien inquiries can also be directed to the SOS office by phone at (602) 542-6187. Online UCC lien search only features uncertified ("watermarked") scanned images of active filings on the SOS record. Certified copies of the UCC lien can be retrieved in person or by submitting a Public Records Request form by mail/in person at:

Mailing Address: 

Office of the Secretary of State

1700 W Washington St Fl 7

Phoenix, AZ 85007-2808


Physical Address:


State Capitol, Executive Tower

1700 West Washington Street

2nd Floor, Room 220

Phoenix, AZ



Arizona State Complex

400 West Congress Street

First Floor, Suite 141

Tucson, AZ

What is a Lien Title in Arizona?

A lien title in Arizona gives a lienholder a legal claim to a person's car or vehicle due to unpaid loans. The vehicle's title will be in the lienholder's name until the debt is paid. The lienholder's name will appear in the space marked "Lienholders" on the vehicle's title. 

Arizona Title Lien Search

The Arizona Motor Vehicle Division (MVD) allows citizens to conduct title lien searches online, by phone at (602) 255-0072, or in person. Online users must create an account using their emails and a secure password to sign in to the online portal. In-person title search requests should be made between 7:30 a.m. and 4:45 p.m., Monday to Friday, at any MVD Office Location. MVD offices open at noon on the second Wednesday of each month.

Alternatively, individuals can conduct a title lien search by requesting a motor vehicle record (MVR) online, by mail, or in person at any MVD or authorized third-party office. Mail requesters must submit a Motor Vehicle Record Request form to the MVD's Record Unit. Uncertified copies of MVR cost $3, while certified copies cost $5. 

Free Title Lien Search in Arizona

Interested persons can check title liens for free through the MVD's search portal. Unregistered users must create an account and log in using their email addresses and secured passwords. Requesters can view title lien at the MVD for free during business hours. However, copies of title lien records will attract a fee.

What is a Judgement Lien in Arizona

A judgment lien is a court ruling authorizing a creditor to take possession of a debtor's property. For a judgement to be a lien, the creditor must file a certified copy of the judgement with the court (ARS §33-961). Per ARS § 33-964, a judgement lien on a real property remains active for 10 years, while civil judgement liens remain in effect until satisfied or lifted.

Arizona Judgement Lien Search

Requesters can find judgement liens at the County Recorder's Office where the judgement was filed. Most County Recorder's Offices operate online portals where individuals can find judgement lien information. An example is the Greenlee County Recorder's office, which has a Document Search tool on its website. Proceed to the document type section on the search page and select "judgement" before executing the search. The search result will display all judgement liens available in Greenlee County. 

Alternatively, requesters can visit the County Recorder's Office, where the judgement was filed, to conduct a judgement lien search. All in-person requests should be made during business hours. The grantor or grantee's name, document number, or recording date should be provided to facilitate the search. 

How to Get a Lien Release in Arizona

A lien release is an official document filed in the public land records as a notice that the lien is removed from a property. There are different ways of getting a lien release in Arizona, but it involves issuing a lien release letter to the lienee. For example:

Property title lien can only be released when a vehicle owner pays off the debt on their vehicle or satisfies their title lien. The lender will complete a Lien Release Form to release the lien on the vehicle and send it to the vehicle owner. The vehicle owner must take the lien release to an MVD or Authorized Third Party office to obtain a new title.

The lienholder will release judgement lien when the judgment, including principal and interest, has been paid in full. The lienholder must file appropriate forms with the Clerk of Superior Court in the county where the judgement was recorded. For example, if the judgement was recorded with the Maricopa County Recorder, the lienholder must file 1 original and 2 photocopies of the Satisfaction of Judgment and Release of Lien Form with the Clerk of Superior Court in Maricopa County. Afterward, the lienholder must mail one copy of the form to the lienee and their attorney.

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