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My friend is buying a boat, previous owner owes slip fees so...

4973 Views 56 Replies 18 Participants Last post by  bwaherne
My question is, if my friend buys the boat, is it now his responsibility to pay those slip fees that the previous owner owes? Or is that between the previous owner and the marina?
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If there's any risk of a lien, aside from having the seller sign that nice document, I'd get the boat out of the area ASAP.

I watched a lien train wreck once on a 65', it ended up with a chain being installed around the prop, an extremely heated multi-party argument on the dock (purportedly with armed parties), and finally a bunch of expensive court hearings. As soon as one court ordered the chain removed poof the boat disappeared.

Kinda like a couple divorce boats I knew- the wives' lawyers had people crawling all over every port in the area to find those boats. None were ever located until after the divorce, after which they miraculously reappeared.
Yes, that's why I mentioned (twice) the issue of a lien, but the debt is owed by the PO, not the new owner; not unless the sale agreement specifically includes past encumbrances (which should be a HUGE red flag). A lien is made against an asset as a form of surety. The marina can foreclose on the asset to recoup their loss, but the debt is still the PO's.

A lien must be registered, so it's relatively easy to check whether one exists. There is also a process for registering one -- it's not a slam-dunk -- and there's usually a small cost involved.

I'd search the public registry of the jurisdiction to check regarding a lien. If there is none, then the new potential owner is good to go.

In some US jurisdictions liens are still recorded on paper and not available online. And, a lien can be issued in Sacramento for a boat in Niagara Falls, and wouldn't show up in NY records (they really aren't supposed to do this, but it happens all the time.) IF the marina has a lien, that means they already had a judgement, and leveraged that to get the lien, all of which is court approved. That then is stuck like glue to the boat, and would follow the sale and be passed on to the new owner. Go search up Carvana and the problems that have happened with their customers buying cars with "surprise" liens.
That's right. That's why you require the seller to warrant that the title is free and clear of all liens. By doing so, the seller guarantees that there are no liens. If one is later discovered, you can sue him for breach of his warranty and recover it from him.
Good luck with that. In USA the court doesn't give you money, you get a Judgement against offending party. I have $10,000 in Judgements I'll sell you for $2000.

If the other party (against which you have a judgement) doesn't own anything of value you can't do a damned thing. If they own [not lease] a car, you have to take the judgement back to the court and get permission to grab the offender's car. Then take it to the local cops, who may or may not elect to tow it to impound. Then the debtor might pay to get the car; if they can't or won't, you can then have the car sold. This all costs money and time and overall has a low rate of success.
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