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A construction lien is a security interest on a piece of real estate. The person who owns the lien, called the lienholder, has the right to foreclose on that real estate if the property owner doesn't pay a debt he or she owes the lienholder. A lien is something like a mortgage, but not exactly. You have to agree to give someone a mortgage on your house, but the property owner's consent is not necessary for a construction lien. Nor does a lien have anything to do with loaning money to the property owner. The construction lien secures the owner's debt for work done by the lienholder. Construction liens have been around for a long time. Way back