ENCUMBRANCE English meaning

In the U.S., a lien that is issued by the government takes precedence over all other liens, mortgages, etc. This means that the federal lien must be paid before anyone else takes their share. Encroachment refers to a kind of intrusion that someone who is not the property owner makes upon another person’s property. For instance, if a neighbor puts up a fence, and the fence is over the property line, then this is a form of trespassing, which is a form of encroachment.

This information should not be considered complete, up to date, and is not intended to be used in place of a visit, consultation, or advice of a legal, medical, or any other professional.

  1. However, according to GAAP, outstanding encumbrances in the year-end are not considered expenditures for the fiscal year.
  2. In some cases, such as a line of credit, there might be no exchange of money until the homeowner actually taps the line of credit and borrows money.
  3. A lien serves to guarantee an underlying obligation, such as the repayment of a loan.
  4. The most common types of encumbrance apply to real estate; these include mortgages, easements, and property tax liens.
  5. It allows government entities, nonprofits, and some businesses to more effectively monitor and control how much they spend.
  6. The bank is then the owner of the property until the borrower has paid off the mortgage.

Consequently, it ensures accounting for the anticipated expenditure is done. This article explores the practice of encumbrance accounting, its importance, and how a typical encumbrance accounting process works. Lenders and buyers require a clear title, so it’s best to resolve involuntary encumbrances quickly. In some cases, such as a line of credit, there might be no exchange of money until the homeowner actually taps the line of credit and borrows money.

What Is an Encumbrance?

When a property no longer has any encumbrances, it’s considered ”unencumbered.” Other encumbrances, such as zoning laws and environmental regulations, do not affect a property’s marketability but do prohibit specific uses for and improvements to the land. Prior to closing, however, the new buyer discovered that the property extended four feet into the neighbor’s property – and that this encroachment had existed for over 30 years! The Greens did exactly that, adding a new wall to the building that cost them over a thousand dollars. The Greens then sued Ayres for the money they had to lay out to remedy an encroachment they were told did not exist.

One way is to look for over-expenditures in reports generated after posting actuals and encumbrances. The other is to identify potential over-expenditures before they occur by verifying whether the budget has sufficient funds to cover the actual and hidden costs. Encumbrance accounting is often used as a planning tool for budgetary control, particularly in government organizations using government accounting standards and nonprofits. However, while fees are paid to the property owner, easements can negatively affect property values.

Encumbrance accounting sets aside specific assets to pay anticipated liabilities. For example, a company may reserve a sum of cash to settle up its accounts payable. The presence of an encumbrance can https://1investing.in/ give the illusion that there are more available funds inside an account than what is actually free for use. The money that has been set aside cannot be used for any other expenditures or transactions.

If the underlying obligation is not satisfied, the creditor may be able to seize the asset that is the subject of the lien. An easement occurs when the property owner retains title to the land, but another entity also has the right to use the land for a specific reason. One common type of easement is an easement for maintenance of utilities. An easement could also be granted for access (right of way) to a parcel of land that is landlocked without a road.


An example of a pre-encumbrance transaction is a purchase requisition. Encumbrance accounting is also referred to as commitment accounting, which involves setting aside money ahead of time to meet anticipated expenses. The amount is set aside by recording a reserve for encumbrance account in the general ledger. This is to ensure that the organization has sufficient funds to meet anticipated payment obligations. Two fairly common types of involuntary liens are a lis pendens and a mechanic’s lien.


The concept is most commonly used in governmental accounting, where encumbrances are used to ensure that there will be sufficient cash available to pay for specific obligations. By using encumbrances, a government entity can be assured that it will not over-extend its finances. A downside of encumbrances is that they increase the complexity of government accounting to some extent. In management accounting, encumbrance is a management tool used to reflect commitments in the accounting system and attempt to prevent overspending. Encumbrances allow organizations to recognize future commitments of resources prior to an actual expenditure. The term encumbrance covers a wide range of financial and non-financial claims on a property by parties other than the title-holder.

While appropriations are money set aside for budgetary line items, encumbrances are reserves for a specific item. Some examples of encumbrances are utility payments, tax payments, and payroll. The real estate agent will provide the buyer with a land search document that will have a list of any encumbrances. An encumbrance is a burden or obstacle placed upon an item of real or personal property that can work to reduce its value. The term “encumbrance” can also be used to refer to another person’s right to a property. For instance, if Sally wants to sell her house, but Bobby still has partial ownership, then Sally must satisfy Bobby’s right to some of the profits before keeping the rest for herself.

A lease is an agreement to rent a property for an agreed-upon rate and period of time. It is a form of encumbrance because the lessor does not give up title to the property, but one’s use of the property is significantly constrained by the encumbrance meaning lease agreement. The term is used in accounting to refer to restricted funds inside an account that are reserved for a specific liability. An encumbrance is any legal thing that burdens or restricts usage or transfer of the property.

Here, ”involuntary” means that the homeowner did not necessarily agree that such a lien could be filed against the property. The lender, generally a bank, retains an interest in the title to a house until the mortgage is paid off. If the borrower cannot repay the mortgage, the lender may foreclose, seizing the house as collateral and evicting the inhabitants. A lien is a type of security interest, an encumbrance that affects the title to a property. It gives a creditor the right to seize the property as collateral for an unmet obligation, usually an unpaid debt. The creditor can then sell the property to recoup at least a portion of their loan.

The term “encumbrance” is used to describe a burden on a property that can reduce the value of the property. If someone owes $100,000 to the bank in the form of a mortgage, then he must pay the bank back that money upon selling the house, which reduces the amount of profit he makes. To explore this concept, consider the following encumbrance definition. Liens attached by tax agencies are specifically referred to as tax liens. A federal tax lien is notable in that it takes precedence over any other claims by creditors, in most cases. An encumbrance can prohibit students from registering for classes, affect the release of their transcripts, or delay the reception of their diplomas.