Maryland Mechanics Lien Guide and FAQs

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Maryland Mechanics Lien Overview

Maryland

Preliminary Notice Deadlines

None.


Send Your Notice

Maryland

Mechanics Liens Deadlines
180 Days

Lien must be filed within 180 days from last providing materials or labor.


File A Lien Fast

Maryland

Enforcement Deadlines
1 Year
In Maryland, a lien claimant is required to initiate his enforcement of the lien by filing a Petition to Enforce the lien within 1 year from the date on which the Petition to Establish the lien was filed.

However, practically, the two petitions can be, and usually are, combined in a Petition to Establish and Enforce Mechanics Lien.

The deadline may not be extended, and missing the deadline results in the lien being rendered unenforceable.

Maryland

Preliminary Notice Deadlines
120 Days

Notice of lien claim must be served on owner within 120 days after last providing labor or materials.


Send Your Notice

Maryland

Mechanics Liens Deadlines
180 Days

Lien must be filed within 180 days from last providing materials or labor.


File A Lien Fast

Maryland

Enforcement Deadlines
1 Year
In Maryland, a lien claimant is required to initiate his enforcement of the lien by filing a Petition to Enforce the lien within 1 year from the date on which the Petition to Establish the lien was filed.

However, practically, the two petitions can be, and usually are, combined in a Petition to Establish and Enforce Mechanics Lien.

The deadline may not be extended, and missing the deadline results in the lien being rendered unenforceable.

Maryland

Preliminary Notice Deadlines
120 Days

Notice of lien claim must be served on owner within 120 days after last providing labor or materials.


Send Your Notice

Maryland

Mechanics Liens Deadlines
180 Days

Lien must be filed within 180 days from last providing materials or labor.


File A Lien Fast

Maryland

Enforcement Deadlines
1 Year
In Maryland, a lien claimant is required to initiate his enforcement of the lien by filing a Petition to Enforce the lien within 1 year from the date on which the Petition to Establish the lien was filed.

However, practically, the two petitions can be, and usually are, combined in a Petition to Establish and Enforce Mechanics Lien.

The deadline may not be extended, and missing the deadline results in the lien being rendered unenforceable.

Contractors & suppliers have strong lien rights in Maryland. If a contractor or supplier isn’t paid on an Maryland job, they can turn to filing a lien to speed up payment and protect themselves. However, there are specific requirements and rules that must be followed.  Here are 5 essential things you need to know about Maryland’s mechanics lien law.

1) Maryland Mechanics Lien Protection Is Broad

In Maryland, any project participant providing labor or materials for a construction project can file a mechanics lien. This includes architects, engineers, surveyors, and certified interior designers. There is no specific party that is considered too removed to file, however, there are some regulations to be aware of. For example, if a property is being repaired rather than newly constructed, mechanics liens are only allowed if the property is being repaired, rebuilt, or improved by at least 15% of its value. Additionally, if a lien claimant is a corporation, it must be registered with the state of Maryland.

2) Maryland Requires That Court Action Be Filed

The deadline to file a mechanics lien in Maryland is 180 days from that date that labor or materials were last provided for a project. To establish the lien, an “action” must be filed with the court in the county where the property is located. This action must be served on all interested parties.

3) Preliminary Notices Are Required for Subcontractors and Can Include Additional Deadlines

In Maryland, preliminary notices are not required for general contractors. They are, however, required for subcontractors who are not in direct contact with the property owner. The notice must be sent within 120 days from the date that the project participant last provided labor or supplies.

For single-family residential properties, there are some special deadline requirements. The notice must not only be sent within 120 days from the last day the participant last provided labor or supplies but additionally prior to the property owner making full payment to the general contractor.

It’s further important to note that liens filed on owner-occupied single-resident properties are also limited to a specific worth dependent on the contract (between the property owner and the general contractor) amount due at the time the property owners received preliminary notice. It’s always best to file preliminary notice early so that the rights of a project participant can be protected.

4) Sometimes Maryland Mechanics Liens Can Include Interest

Generally, attorney’s fees, collection costs, and other amounts cannot be included in a Maryland mechanics lien. Things to include in the lien are the following: unpaid labor, material, and equipment supplied to the project (the total contract amount being the cap). However, a participating party may be able to include interest if the contract so provided. A court may award attorney’s fees to a successful lien claimant.

5) Priority Determined by Date of Judicial Order

Mechanics liens in Maryland do not have priority over pre-existing mortgages or construction loans. Any encumbrance attached to the property prior to the start of construction will take precedence over a mechanics lien. A Maryland mechanics lien does not attach until formally established by judicial order. Among competing mechanics liens, project participants must share funds depending on the amount available.


Sending a Notice of Intent to Lien may be enough to push for payment without ever needing a Mechanics Lien.

Maryland Mechanics Lien FAQs

Contractors, suppliers, property owners, construction lenders, and other vendors will encounter all kinds of lien-related paperwork and questions when working on Maryland construction jobs. Here are some of the common issues you may encounter, and answers written by construction attorneys and payment experts.

Lien FAQs

Who can file a Maryland Mechanics Lien?

In Maryland, any party who furnishes labor or materials to a construction project is entitled to mechanics lien protection, provided that the property and work otherwise meet the requirements for the establishment of a Maryland mechanics lien. For private projects in Maryland, there is no specific tier of potential lien claimant that is considered too far removed to assert lien rights. Further, a formal written contract is not specifically required in order to assert lien rights in Maryland. Architects, engineers, surveyors, and certified interior designers are also granted lien right protection. If the lien claimant is a corporation, it must be registered in the State of Maryland in order to maintain a mechanics lien. If the building is not being newly constructed, mechanics liens are only allowed if the property is repaired, rebuilt, or improved to the extent of 15% of its value.

When is the deadline to file a Maryland Mechanics Lien?

In Maryland, all lien claimants must file their lien within 180 days from last furnishing labor or materials to the project. To establish the lien, an action must be filed in a court of the county in which the property to be subjected to the lien is located.

Do I need to send notice the Lien was recorded?

Yes. Maryland requires the filing of an action in the circuit court of the county in which the property is located in order to establish a mechanic’s lien. Because the “filing” of the mechanics lien is accomplished by initiating a court action, the general rules of civil procedure apply, and the action should be served on all interested parties.

Can I include attorney's fees, collection costs, or other amounts in the Lien total?

Not generally. Maryland usually allows lien claimants to only include the amount unpaid for labor, material, and equipment supplied to the project, with the total contract amount being a cap. However, if a lien claimant’s contract provides for the same, interest may be allowed to be included in the lien claim. Attorney’s fees may be awarded at the discretion of the court in a successful action. Consequential damages and general overhead are not allowable in lien claims.

When is the deadline to enforce a Maryland Mechanics Lien, or, how long is my Lien effective?

In Maryland, a lien claimant is required to initiate his enforcement of the lien by filing a Petition to Enforce the lien within 1 year from the date on which the Petition to Establish the lien was filed. As a practical matter, the two petitions can be, and usually are, combined in a Petition to Establish and Enforce Mechanics Lien. This is useful due to the possibility that the lien may not be established by the court within 1 year from the date of filing the original petition to establish the lien. If this was to happen, the lien claimant would lose the ability to enforce his lien claim even if the court issued a final order establishing the lien.

Will my Maryland Lien have priority over pre-existing mortgages or construction loans?

No. In Maryland, a mechanics lien does not attach to the property until formally established by judicial order. All other liens and encumbrances attached to the property prior to the judicial order have priority over the mechanics lien. The mechanics lien will have priority over liens and encumbrances which attach after the mechanic’s lien. Among competing mechanics liens, none has priority over any other, and the proceeds of any foreclosure sale is distributed pro-rata.

Must the Maryland Lien include a legal property description?

No. Maryland requires “a description of the land, including a statement whether part of the land is located in another county, and a description adequate to identify the building.” While a full legal description is not necessary, the fuller the description the more likely it will be determined sufficient. A copy of the deed incorporated by reference, or the full legal description of the property, is clearly sufficient; another description held to be sufficient included the street address with zip code, tax map parcel number, and several photographs of the property.

Must the Maryland Lien be notarized?

Maryland requires a court action to be initiated in order for a mechanics lien to attach to the property – the requirements of any other lawsuit apply. Further, the petition must be accompanied by an affidavit of the lien claimant, or another on his behalf, which sets forth the facts upon which the petitioner believes he is entitled to the lien.

Can I file a Maryland Lien if I'm unlicensed?

An interior designer must be certified in order to claim the benefit of a mechanics lien. If the lien claimant is a corporation, it must be registered to do business in the State of Maryland in order to claim a mechanics lien.

Can I file a Maryland Lien on a condominium project?

Yes, a mechanics lien may be filed against a project involving a condominium, provided the lien claimant would otherwise have valid mechanics lien rights. For a condominium project, however, the petition must name all the property owners in the condominium as defendants.

Who cancels the Maryland Lien if/when I get paid?

Maryland mechanics lien statute provides that, at the time of settlement or payment in full between a contractor and an owner the contractor is to give the owner a signed release of lien for lower tier parties. Since the mechanics lien must be initiated through court order, the court will determine the cancellation of the lien upon payment.

What are the Lien Waiver Rules?

Maryland does not have statutory lien waiver forms; therefore, you can use any lien waiver form. Since lien waivers are unregulated, be careful when reviewing and signing lien waivers.

Also, Maryland state law prohibits subcontractors and suppliers from waiving their right to file a mechanics lien in contract.

To learn more about lien waivers, see our Maryland Lien Waiver FAQs and Resources.

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Maryland Mechanics Lien Free Forms

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