4 May 2023 / Adam J. Ruwe

Judgment Liens Under House Bill 83: Changes for Kentucky Creditors

On April 6, 2023, Kentucky Governor Andy Beshear signed House Bill 83 (HB 83) into law. This new law has a significant impact on the enforcement of judgment liens in Kentucky. The law's main effect on judgment liens deals with the expiration of judgment liens and how the expiration may be postponed. 
KRS 426.720 provides for the creation of judgment liens and details the notice requirements to the judgment debtor. Under HB 83, KRS 426.720 has been supplemented to provide for the creation of judgment liens, updated notice requirements, expiration of judgment liens, and how expiration may be postponed. 

Creation of Judgment Liens

KRS 426.720(1) remains mostly the same. The only significant difference is the addition of subsection (1)(a)(3), which states that the notice of judgment lien filed with the county clerk must contain the date of the final judgment in addition to the old requirements. 

Expiration of Judgment Liens

One of the major effects HB 83 has on judgment liens is how long they will last. Previously, judgment liens were valid for a period of 15 years from the date of final judgment under KRS 413.090. Now, the length of time a judgment lien is valid is determined by KRS 426.720(2). 
A judgment lien that was created before the effective date of HB 83, July 1, 2023, will expire either 10 years from the effective date or 15 years from the date of final judgment, whichever date is earlier. 
A judgment lien that is created on or after the effective date of HB 83 will expire 10 years from the date of final judgment. 

Postponing Expiration of a Judgment Lien

HB 83, KRS 426.720(2) effectively shortens the period of time in which a judgment lien is effective from 15 years to 10 years. However, KRS 426.720(3) allows for an extension of the judgment lien in two ways:
  1. The first way a judgment lien can be extended is if, at any time before the expiration, a proceeding is filed in a court of record in the Commonwealth of Kentucky to enforce the judgment lien. It is also required that the creditor file a notice of the judgment lien enforcement proceeding in the county where the judgment lien was filed, and the notice must contain the same information required when originally filing the judgment lien. The judgment lien will then remain in effect temporarily until the proceeding has reached a final judgment or dismissal. Within 10 days of the final judgment or dismissal, the creditor must file a notice in the county where the judgment lien is filed, and the notice shall contain the information about the judgment lien proceeding, and the judgment lien’s expiration date. 
  2. The second way in which a judgment lien can be extended is by filing a judgment lien renewal. This one-time extension is effective for an additional five years. The renewal is subject to three conditions:
    1. The first is that the renewal must contain all the information required for the original judgment lien.
    2. The second is that the renewal must include the remaining balance of the judgment that is unsatisfied.
    3. The third and final condition is that notice must be sent to the debtor’s last known address or attorney on record if they have an attorney.  
It is critical for all creditors and their attorneys to note the update to the law regarding judgment liens. These updates present significant changes to how long a judgment lien is valid. Failure to properly enforce judgment liens or renew the judgment lien can result in an unenforceable judgment. 

Our team is constantly monitoring this topic. If you have additional questions, contact attorney Adam Ruwe at any time.
This blog is not a solicitation for business and it is not intended to constitute legal advice on specific matters, create an attorney-client relationship or be legally binding in any way.

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