You are working with a developer or contractor who is developing multiple properties all at the same time, or in close proximity to one another, and you’ve furnished labor or materials to a number of these projects or properties. Since things move at the speed of business, you may have furnished everything under a single contract or single open account, and now that you’re unpaid, you’re wondering: Do I file a single lien, or must I file separate liens for each property? What is the value for each lien?
The issue can be a tricky one to deal with. Here are some general “rules” that may help you figure out how to proceed in these circumstances.
Rule 1: Each Property Requires a Separate Mechanics Lien
Thinking about the contract, the account or the “project” can clutter your vision a bit. The mechanics lien laws care very little about all of those things, instead, these laws simply provide those who furnish labor or materials to a property a lien on that property. The mechanics lien remedy, in other words, is very connected to the property where work is being performed.
A rule of thumb, therefore, is that if you furnished to multiple properties, each property will require a separate mechanics lien.
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Rule 2: Mechanics Lien Amount can only be for Value of Services Furnished to that Specific Property
So if you have to file a mechanics lien for each property that you furnished labor or materials upon, do you file them all for the same total amount due to you? The answer is a big, resounding NO. If you do this, your mechanics lien will likely get invalidated as “exaggerated.”
You only have a mechanics lien claim equal to the value of the materials or labor you furnished to the property. Therefore, you can only file a mechanics lien on a property in an amount equal to the value of the materials or labor you furnished to that particular property.
If you can’t break down the furnishing to separate them by property, you will have a difficult time getting your mechanics lien filed.