Some description of the property to be charged with the lien is essential in a mechanics lien claim. What constitutes an effective description depends on the state in which the property is located, and other factors discussed in a bit more detail here. However, one particular part of the determination that was not discussed was: what happens when there are multiple improvements located on a single piece of property?
The answer to this question depends on the specific circumstances of the project, state, property, etc.. This is a common refrain when discussing the variance of lien law throughout the country. First, it has to be determined whether or not the multiple buildings/improvement are really located on the same property. Just because there are no well-defined boundaries separating buildings from one another, it doesn’t necessarily follow that the buildings are on the same parcel of property. A check of an assessor map, or other property records may be necessary to determine this. Parcel boundaries and separate lots can be hard to determine, in some instances a separate parcel can be completely surrounded by another distinct parcel.
Second, it generally needs to be determined if the owner of all the disparate buildings/improvements is the same – and further, that the tenant (if applicable) is the same as well. The party originally contracting for the work must be determined.
These questions are important not only in describing the property – but in determining how many liens must be filed. If there are different owners, separate liens must be filed whether or not it appears that multiple improvements are located on the same piece of land. If the owner is the same, it may be possible to file one lien, as long as the property(its) is/are properly identified and described in the lien claim.
This is just one more tricky aspect of the complexities of mechanic’s lien law. If you have a legal question concerning mechanics lien law or generally about construction payment, post your question free to our construction legal center where construction attorneys will respond.