Judgement & Liens

Q1. When is a judgement a "Lien" on Real Property?

A judgement becomes a lien on real property when it is entered into the judgement index. A judgement shall create a lien on real property located in the county, title to which at the time of entry is recorded in the name of the person against whom the judgement is entered.

Q2. What is an "In REM Judgement"?

Latin: meaning against "the thing" - your property.

An "in Rem" judgement may also be referred to as a "property specific" judgement.

In Rem judgements need to be paid only if the property affected is the real estate in your transaction. You can determine if it is against your property by readying the judgement or complaint itself.


  1. Delinquent real estate taxes

  2. Water/Sewer/Trash

  3. School taxes

  4. Municipal liens IF they are for actual work the municipality conducted on the real estate.

  5. Mechanics' liens

  6. Mortgage foreclosure judgements

  7. Liens under the Commercial Real Estate Broker Lien Act

Q3. What is an "In Personam" judgement?

Latin: meaning "directed toward a particular person" - your seller or borrower.

In Personam judgements may also be referred to as "General Judgements"

In Personam judgements must be paid when the defendant is the owner of the real property involved in your transaction. You should always assume judgements are held in Personam unless the debtor can prove otherwise.


  1. Federal Tax Liens

  2. Federal & PA Death Taxes

  3. Criminal Judgements

  4. Support obligations

  5. Commonwealth of PA Department of Revenue

  6. Commonwealth of PA Income/Employer Withholding Tax

  7. Commonwealth of PA Deptartment of Revenue - Realty Transfer Tax liens

  8. Municipal liens for fines

  9. Creditors/personal injury

  10. Confession of Judgement

Q4. What is the duration of the most common judgements and leins?

Answer in image form. Click here for answer.

Q5. Do judgements attach to after-acquired property?

In Pennsylvania, judgements DO NOT attach to after acquired property, except in the following situations:

  1. Federal Tax Liens
  2. Federal judgements entered pursuant to the Effective Death Penalty and Antiterrorism Act of 1996.
  3. Federal Criminal Judgements
  4. Unemployment Compensation - plaintiff is PA Department of Labor and Industry
  5. Domestic Realtions support liens