Tennessee Mechanics Lien FAQs

Last updated September 22, 2020
If contractors and suppliers don’t get paid on a construction project in Tennessee, they can file a mechanics lien to secure payment. A mechanics lien is a legal tool that provides the unpaid party with a security interest in the property. This page breaks down the rules, requirements, and deadlines you need to follow to file a Tennessee mechanics lien.

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When should a mechanics lien be used in the payment process?

Start a job

Preliminary notice
slow
pay?

Escalate payment problem

Notice of intent to lien
no
pay?

Demand payment

Mechanics lien

Tennessee lien law deadlines for:

Preliminary notice deadlines
Before work

Notice to Owner prior to commencing work.

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Mechanics lien deadlines
1 year

A lien enforcement action must be filed within 1 year of last furnishing labor and/or materials.

There's more to it than that, though. See details below.

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Enforcement deadlines
1 year

In Tennessee, a contractor with a direct contract with the property owner must initiate a lawsuit to enforce a mechanics lien within 1 year after the completion of the work.

However, the period may be shortened to 60 days if the property owner serves the lien claimant a written demand for enforcement of the lien.

Preliminary notice deadlines
90 days

Notice of Non-Payment must be provided to the owner within 90 days of last day of the month labor and materials provided. For example, if labor was provided on April 3, then notice is provided 90 days from April 30. Separate notices are required for each month unpaid services or materials are provided.

Send Your Notice
Mechanics lien deadlines
90 days

Generally, a lien must be filed within 90 days of the completion of the work or improvement.

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Enforcement deadlines
90 days

All lien claimants without a direct contract with the property owner must initiate an action to enforce their lien within 90 days of the lien’s filing.

However, the period may be shortened to 60 days from receipt of a demand from the property owner for enforcement of the lien.

Preliminary notice deadlines
90 days

If supplying to the owner, the same notice requirements apply as for the prime contractor. Otherwise, the same notice requirements as for a subcontractor.

Send Your Notice
Mechanics lien deadlines
90 days

Generally, a lien must be filed within 90 days of the completion of the work or improvement.

File A Lien Fast
Enforcement deadlines
90 days

Parties with a direct contract with the property owner must initiate a lawsuit to enforce a mechanics lien within 1 year after the completion of the work.

Parties without a direct contract with the property owner must initiate an action to enforce their lien within 90 days of the lien’s filing.

However, either period may be shortened to 60 days from receipt of a demand from the property owner for enforcement of the lien.