What happens when you file a mechanics lien, but then something changes? For example, what if the lien amount grows, the description of labor and/or materials provided needs modification, or if an additional party is added to the construction project? If a mechanics lien was already filed on the project property, some claimants may wish to update their filed mechanics lien.
What Is an Amended Lien?
Questions arise such as “What is the appropriate procedure to correct the information on the filed mechanics lien?” or “Do I need to place another lien on the property?” Although there is the option to place a second lien on the property, it is generally simpler to amend the previously filed lien. An amendment is a change or addition to a legal document. For example, the United States Constitution is full of amendments. (Think “First Amendment Rights.”) But don’t worry, no need to receive a congressional majority vote to amend a mechanic’s lien.
How To File an Amended Lien
The process for filing amended liens is the same as for filing regular mechanics liens. The same data and information that was required on the initial lien will be required for filing the amended lien. The only difference (besides adding or updating information, which is the whole point of filing an amended lien) will be referencing the first mechanics lien within the amended lien. The following information is generally helpful for referencing the original mechanics lien: the document or instrument number or book/page number of the first lien, date of filing, and the office it was filed in.
Typically, these references look something like this:
This document serves to amend the mechanic’s lien previously recorded on [date] in the [county] Clerk of Courts Office, filed as instrument number [instrument number].
Filing fees for recording the amended mechanic’s lien are still applicable, as well as any required service. Once the amended lien is filed, it will receive a document or instrument number, or book/page number.
What Happens After Filing an Amended Lien?
If the mechanic’s lien results in payment or settlement, it is generally best practice to remove the lien from the property. When preparing the mechanic’s lien release, it is a safe practice to include the filing information for both mechanic’s liens in the release. Most county clerks will accept one mechanic’s lien release in order to release both the initial and the amended mechanic’s liens, but certain counties require separate mechanic’s lien releases: one for the initial lien and one for the amended lien.
Typically, a release to remove both the initial mechanic’s lien and the amended mechanic’s lien looks something like this:
This document serves to release the mechanic’s lien recorded on [date] in the [county] Clerk of Courts Office, filed as instrument number [number]; as well as the amended mechanic’s lien recorded on [date] in the [County] Clerk of Courts Office, filed as instrument number [number].
Ultimately, amending a mechanic’s lien is painless and simple. Unless, of course, your county’s required filing fees are steep.