Common Law Lien Law and Legal Definition

A common law lien is a lien against personal or real property that is not that is not a statutory lien, a security interest created by agreement, or a judicial lien obtained by legal or equitable process or proceedings. A common law lien only confers the right to retain the property, not the right to sell it to recover funds. However, some statutes have also conferred an additional power of sale, and it is possible to confer a separate power of sale by contract. A common law lien depends on the lawful possession of the property by the person claiming the lien (lienor). For example, an innkeeper may claim a common law lien on the belongings of a tenant in arrears.