Washington DC Mechanics Lien Guide and FAQs

Last updated June 30, 2020
If contractors and suppliers don’t get paid on a construction project in Washington, DC, 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 Washington, DC 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?

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Mechanics lien

Washington, DC lien deadlines for:

Preliminary notice requirements
None.

Washington, DC doesn't require any party to send a preliminary notice before filing a mechanics lien. However, sending a prelim can reduce payment problems and help you get paid faster.

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Mechanics lien deadline
90 Days

Claimants in Washington, DC must file a mechanics lien within 90 days from completion or termination of project, whichever is earlier.

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Lien enforcement deadline
180 Days

In Washington DC, a lien claimant is required to initiate an action to enforce the lien within 180 days of filing the lien.

Additionally, within 10 days of filing suit, a notice of Pendency of Action must be recorded.

This deadline may not be extended, and if the deadline is missed, the lien expires.