A lien denotes a lender's provisional privilege of ownership against a borrower's property or asset that prohibits its sale or transfer without paying off the lender. Even a mortgage agreement is a lien on the mortgaged asset. Normally, an agreement between two parties - the borrower or lienor and the lender or the lienee - may also be one of the forms of a lien. Alternately, like in the instance of a tax lien enforced by the Canada Customs and Revenue Agency, a lien may also be a legal stipulation.

As mentioned above, the courts also grant liens to assure a verdict against a defeated appellant. It may be mentioned here that all such liens are only for a limited period depending on the jurisdiction and are applicable only to the property or asset that is a part of a direct or entailed agreement. In fact, if the lien is related to a real estate, then it is essential to list it appropriately with a view to make it official and applicable. In the event of a default, the creditor or the lien holder possesses the right to confiscate and sell the asset or property after acquiring a foreclosure order and providing a rational notice to the lienor.

In matters relating to real estate, usually liens are correlated to legal stipulations that make it mandatory to look after and accord preference to the work carried out and substances provided in building, renovating or transforming any construction. In fact, the jargon or terminology such as mechanic's lien, construction holdback and builder's lien varies from one province to another.

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