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Collecting on a debt through a real estate attachment

On Behalf of | Sep 24, 2021 | Pre-Judgment Attachments

If you are having trouble collecting a commercial debt, you may wonder what you can do to make the debtor pay. The truth is, you have many tools available to you under Massachusetts law. The experienced commercial collections attorneys at the Law Offices of Alan M. Cohen & Associates LLC know how to choose the right tools for the job. If your debtor owns real estate in Massachusetts, a real estate attachment could be just the tool you need.

When can you use a real estate attachment?

Real estate attachments are a type of pre-judgment attachment. That means you secure the asset before you receive the judgment against the debtor. The debtor cannot transfer that asset while the judgment case is underway. Once you receive your judgment, you have an asset set aside which may pay the debt. In this case, the asset is a piece of real estate owned by the debtor.

Judges have discretion regarding when to grant pre-judgment attachments. You must convince a judge that a real estate attachment is the appropriate method of securing your debt before you successfully obtain a judgment against the debtor. That is why you need a skilled collections lawyer on your side.

How does a real estate attachment work?

You can pursue this attachment either by giving notice to the debtor or through an ex parte attachment, which does not include notice. Judges are much more careful about approving an ex parte attachment. They may do so, however, if they believe the debtor will try to transfer the property or add an encumbrance to it if they receive notice.

If approved, a deputy sheriff should levy and suspend on your writ of attachment within 30 days. This will give you a claim to the real estate ahead of any later attachments once you have secured your judgment in court. You must act quickly in order to place yourself at the front of the line. After you receive your judgment and timely record your execution, you will have a secured source of payment subject to liens prior to your attachment and the debtor’s (if an individual) homestead rights.

Special real estate attachments

Some debtors have an ownership interest in property that they have titled in another person’s name. In certain cases, a creditor can request a special real estate attachment in such property. Although these cases are less common than a regular real estate attachment, the attorneys at the Law Offices of Alan M. Cohen & Associates LLC have extensive experience obtaining these for our clients.

Trusted help from a collections law firm that gets results

You don’t have to attempt debt collection on your own. The commercial collections attorneys at the Law Offices of Alan M. Cohen & Associates LLC have the experience and the tools you need on your side to help you to  get you paid. Discuss your case with one of our team members to get started. You can schedule an appointment by calling 508-763-6604 or reaching out online.