A bill titled “Mechanics Lien Amendment Act of 2012” is sitting on the Washington D.C.’s Mayor’s desk and expected to be signed any day, making very slight changes to the Washington DC Mechanics Lien law. Most lien claimants will not notice any differences, as the differences and changes are very subtle and relate to a lien’s post-claim period.

You can view more details about the legislation and track it on the DCCouncil’s website.

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An example of the character of changes within the law is the period for which a contractor may proceed to have a mechanics lien enforced.  Under the existing law, DC Code § 40-301.02 allows a contractor to start a proceeding to enforce its lien “within 90 days after the earlier of the completion or termination of the project.”  Accordingly, the contractor was required to wait until after the completion of the project before they could enforce the lien claim.

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Under the proposed law, the phrase “within 90 days” will be replaced with “during the construction or within 90 days,” freeing up contractors to file enforcement actions before the termination of all work at the project.

The law accomplishes a few other minor changes to Washington DC’s Mechanics Lien Act, as the bill is summarized as follows:

To amend An Act To establish a code of law for the District of Columbia to permit a contractor to file a Notice of Mechanic’s Lien during the construction of a project, to reduce the number of sureties or bonds necessary to allow the court to release a mechanic’s lien, and to increase the time period a contractor has to object or comment on a written undertaking filed by a property owner.

The legal community in DC expects the bill to become law after the Mayor’s signature, but if there is a hiccup or if anything changes, we are monitoring the bill and will report.