CHAPTER 445

FORMERLY

HOUSE BILL NO. 700

AN ACT TO AMEND TITLE 25, OF THE DELAWARE CODE TO CLARIFY THE PROPERTY TO WHICH STATUTORY LIENS FOR TAXES AND OTHER GOVERNMENTAL CHARGES RELATE AND TO PROVIDE FOR A NOTICE OF LIEN FOR SUCH CHARGES.

BE IT ENACTED BY THE GENERAL ASSEMBLY OF THE STATE OF DELAWARE:

Section 1. Amend Title 25, Delaware Code, by deleting the existing Section 2901 in its entirety and substituting therein the following:

§2901. Lien of Taxes and Other Charges; Notice of Lien.

(a)(1) Except as otherwise provided, "lien" or "liens" as used in this Section 2901 shall arise whenever the following charges, as defined in this section, are levied or imposed by the State or any political subdivision thereof (including the Levy Court or County Council of any county, any united, consolidated or incorporated school district, or any incorporated town or city in this State) and such charges become due:

(a) Real property taxes, including penalty and interest thereon;

(b) School taxes, including taxes for a vocational—technical high school district or county vocational-technical center district, including penalty and interest thereon;

(c) Service charges for maintenance or use of sewer systems, including penalty and interest thereon;

(d) Service charges for maintenance or use of water systems, including penalty and interest thereon;

(e) Service charges for garbage collection;

(f) Charges for the costs of razing or demolition of buildings done through public expenditure; and

(g) Charges for duly authorized improvements to the exteriors of buildings done through public expenditure.

(2) "Liens" shall not include administrative costs incurred by the Sheriff in the Sheriff's Sale process.

(3) Except as provided in subsection (b)(1) hereof, the liens created by subsection (a) are levied or imposed only upon that parcel of real property against or upon which such charges have been levied or imposed. The liens created by this section shall have preference to and priority over all other liens on such real property, including liens of a date prior in time to the attaching of the liens created by this section.

(4) Any political subdivision having the power to levy or collect any of the charges described herein shall maintain a record of all charges creating liens under this section, including the amount of the lien, the name of the chargeable, and the location of the real property against or upon which such charges have been levied or imposed. The record or information contained therein shall be available to the public upon request.

(b)(1) Upon the filing of a Notice of Lien by a political subdivision in accordance with this subsection (b), the charges described in subsection (a)(1) hereof shall, as of the date of filing a Notice of Lien pursuant to this subsection (b), be and constitute a lien upon all real property of which the chargeable was seized at the time, or at any time after such Notice of Lien has been filed in accordance with this subsection (b), situate in the county (including all real property situate within any incorporated town or city located within the county) in which such charges are levied or imposed.

(2) Notices of Lien shall be in the form of an affidavit, executed by an attorney for the political subdivision or by an employee of the political subdivision having custody and control over the records relating to the charges that constitute the lien, reciting that the chargeable is the owner of record of real property situate in the county (including all real property situate within any incorporated town or city located with the county) in which such charges are levied or imposed, that charges have been duly levied or imposed upon the chargeable, the types of charge as specified in subsection (a)(1), the amount of such charges as of the date of filing the Notice of Lien and that the chargeable has failed to pay said charges despite notice by the political subdivision.

(3) A Notice of Lien for any chargeable may be filed at any time after the charges have become delinquent. Charges shall be deemed "delinquent" if they are unpaid as of the date upon which any penalty or interest shall accrue thereon in accordance with law or, in the event that there is no such date established by law, as of ninety (90) days after the date upon which an authorized representative of the political subdivision made a demand for payment upon the chargeable.

(4) Notice of Lien shall be indexed by the name of the chargeable, in a separate index for such purposes maintained in the Office of the Prothonotary in each county. The index shall be maintained by the Office of the Prothonotary in the County in which the real property is located and shall include the name of the chargeable and the date and time the Notice of Lien was filed. A fee for filing the Notice of Lien shall be established by the Superior Court pursuant to 10 Del.C. §8705 and shall be paid at the time of filing the Notice of Lien. The affidavit filed for each Notice of Lien shall be available to the public upon request. The lien created hereunder shall be a lien upon all real property owned by the chargeable at the time of filing that is situate in the county (including any incorporated town or city located within the county) in which such charges are levied or imposed, and such lien shall have priority as of the time it is filed.

(5) The political subdivision that filed any Notice of Lien may, in its sole discretion and at any time and without receiving payment of all charges owed by the chargeable, release from the lien created hereby any or all parcels of real property owned by the chargeable by filing a writing to that effect with the Prothonotary, and such release shall be without prejudice to the right of the political subdivision to collect the remainder of any charges from any real property of the chargeable that is subject to the lien created under subsection (b) and has not been so released. Any release, whether partial or complete, shall be noted in the index for Notices of Lien.

(6) A Notice of Lien shall be ineffective as of the date all charges owed by the chargeable have been paid in full, subject to subsection (7) hereof.

(7) A Notice of Lien shall be effective for a period of three (3) years after the date of filing such Notice, unless the political subdivision files a subsequent Continuation of Lien against the same chargeable prior to the expiration of the three (3) year period and in such event the lien created by the subsequent Continuation of Lien will have priority as of the date of filing of the previous Notice of Lien. A Continuation of Lien will be effective for a period of three years following the initial three-year period of the Notice of Lien and shall constitute a lien against any real property acquired by the chargeable after the filing of the Notice of Lien, and located in the county in which the Notice of Lien was filed. No more than one Continuation of Lien may be filed for any one Notice of Lien, provided, however, that this limitation shall not preclude the later filing of a new Notice of Lien against the chargeable which shall be effective and have priority as of the date of such later filing.

(8) Upon written notice by the chargeable to the political subdivision that all charges for which the Notice of Lien was filed have been paid, the political subdivision shall enter a satisfaction of record on the Notice of Lien index.

(9) Nothing contained herein shall be deemed to affect or limit the ability of the political subdivision to collect any charge through any other legal procedure including, without limitation, proceedings pursuant to a Writ of Monition.

(10) All liens for the nonpayment of charges (including any created pursuant to 9 Del.C. §8701), other than the lien upon the real property against which the charge was levied or imposed as provided in subsection (a), are hereby extinguished, provided, however, that this subsection shall not affect any lien obtained by any political subdivision prior to the effective date hereof by any legal procedure including, without limitation, proceedings pursuant to a Writ of Monition.

Approved October 5, 1990.