If you have decided to file a mechanics lien in Mississippi to make sure you get paid on a construction project in the Magnolia state, this step-by-step Mississippi mechanics lien guide will break down the whole process.
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Mechanics Lien Requirements Start Long Before It’s Time to File the Lien
Before taking the final step of filing a mechanics lien, though, it’s important to keep in mind that there may be preliminary notice and timing requirements that must be met prior to filing a valid Mississippi mechanics lien. Filing a mechanics lien can be a complicated and time-consuming task, especially if you decide to proceed by yourself, but if you want to move ahead and you’re ready to do so, just follow the steps below to start the lien process.
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Make Sure Your Mississippi Mechanics Lien Has the Required Information
It is very important to make sure that you include all of the required information on your Mississippi mechanics lien. Mechanics liens are a right created by law, which means that in order to be valid, they must strictly comply with specific statutory rules, requirements, and deadlines.
Failing to include all of the required information on the lien claim (or not providing it in the correct format) isn’t just a simple mistake — it can render your entire lien invalid. This means it’s of critical importance to make sure all the proper information is obtained and included on the lien document.
Mississippi mechanics liens must substantially follow the form set forth by the Mississippi mechanics lien law, and shall set forth:
1) The name of the claimant;
2) The amount of the lien claim;
3) The identity of the property owner;
4) A description of the property that is to be subject of the lien;
5) The date the claim was due, (which is the same as the last date the labor, services or materials were supplied to the premises);
6) A statement regarding the lien’s expiration pursuant to Section 85-7-421(1) ;
7) A notice to the owner of the property on which a claim of lien is filed that the owner has the right to contest the lien;
Special Note Regarding Required Statements on Mississippi Mechanics Liens
Mississippi requires certain statements to be included on the lien claim. These statements include a statement regarding the lien’s expiration and a notice to the owner that s/he has the right to contest the lien.
The statements must be included on the lien. Sufficient language for the statements is set forth by law, as follows:
“THIS CLAIM OF LIEN EXPIRES AND IS VOID ONE HUNDRED EIGHTY (180) DAYS FROM THE DATE OF FILING OF THE CLAIM OF LIEN IF A PAYMENT ACTION IS NOT FILED BY THE CLAIMANT WITHIN THAT TIME PERIOD.
NOTICE TO OWNER OF PROPERTY: You have the right to contest this claim of lien pursuant to Mississippi law.”
Special care should be taken to include the necessary statements (and to use the sufficient statutory language) because: “the absence of the statement or notice shall invalidate the lien.”
How to File a Mississippi Mechanics Lien
Now it’s time to get your Mississippi mechanics lien recorded in the office of the clerk of the chancery court of the county where the property that is at the center of the construction project is located.
- Prepare the lien document, taking care to include all the necessary information set forth above – including the required statements.
- Sign the document.
- Deliver the lien must the office of the clerk of the chancery court of the county where the property is located. The lien claim may be delivered to the clerk’s office by mail or FedEx or may be walked into the office, either by you or by a courier.
- Remember, the proper recording fees must be included with the lien. Liens are often rejected for improper fees (sometimes even if you provide too much money). Any delay caused by needing to resubmit the lien for recording takes time – and since liens are time sensitive documents, it can possibly result in a missed deadline. Recording fees can be determined by calling the applicable recording office, checking on the office’s website, or asking in person if you physically bring the lien for filing.
– Note that your lien document must also comply with any specific margin or cover sheet requirements that a particular county’s clerk may have. These requirements can also be determined by calling the appropriate clerk’s office.
- Serve the lien, as set forth below.
If a payment bond is present, a lien claim may not be available:
How to Serve a Mississippi Mechanics Lien
Mississippi requires that a mechanics lien must be both filed and served in order to be valid. And, the deadline is very short, so the claimant does not have much time to accomplish the service.
Mississippi law requires the lien claimant to serve a true and accurate copy of the lien on the owner of the property or, if the owner’s address cannot be found, the contractor, as the agent of the owner, no later than two (2) business days after the claim of lien is filed of record. The service is to be accomplished by registered or certified mail or statutory overnight delivery.
If the property owner is an entity on file with the Secretary of State’s office, sending a copy of the claim of lien to the entity’s address or the registered agent’s address shall satisfy this requirement. NOTE that lien claimants other than the direct contractor (for example, subcontractors or material suppliers) must serve the direct contractor in the same manner and within the same time period as the owner.
Congratulations! Once the lien document has been filed and served, your Mississippi mechanics lien is ready to get you paid. Liens are very powerful — but, as specifically noted on the face of the Mississippi lien document itself, they can be disputed or challenged.
Filing the lien may not end the process, and even if the lien is not challenged, you may be required to enforce your lien claim through a foreclosure action in order to get paid. Valid liens virtually always result in payment, but the path to that payment can be lengthy if a foreclosure suit is required.
Remember that just because a lien is recorded doesn’t necessarily make it valid, and likewise, just because a property owner (or their attorney) may make a claim that it is improper and needs to be removed doesn’t make it invalid.
Finally, a Mississippi mechanics lien stays effective for 180 days from the date the lien was filed.
Recording a mechanics lien can be a powerful tool in making sure you are paid what you earned. The How-To guide above can empower you to take that step when and if it becomes necessary, and make sure you are treated fairly.