Maryland Mechanics Lien Requirements
Maryland’s mechanics lien law establishes specific requirements that unpaid construction parties must follow in order to file a lien claim.
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.
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.
Subcontractors, suppliers, and anyone else not in direct contact with the property owner must provide preliminary notice in Maryland before they can file a mechanics lien. They must send the notice to the property owner within 120 days from the last date they provided labor or supplies. General contractors are not required to send a notice before filing a lien in Maryland.
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 send notice early in Maryland so that the rights of a project participant can be protected.
Lien claim amounts
Generally, attorney’s fees, collection costs, and other amounts cannot be included in a Maryland mechanics lien. The following can be included in the lien amount: 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.
Recording a lien
Maryland’s process for recording a lien claim is done through the court system. Claimants will need to deliver the lien form, an affidavit, and supporting documentation to the circuit court of the county in which the property is located. Filing a mechanics lien in Maryland actually requires initiating a court action. Individual claimants who do not wish to represent themselves in court will require a lawyer.
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.