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Can I file lien at an airport

MassachusettsMechanics LienRecovery OptionsRight to LienSlow Payment

We are a GC that did TI work for a restaurant at an airport. We purchased a P&P Bond. We are having trouble getting paid for the work due to COVID and CF issues. What can we do to protect ourselves?

2 replies

Jun 10, 2020
If it's a privately owned airport, there are certain scenarios where an owner's interest in the property might be liened for a tenant's failure to pay for an improvement. Generally, if the owner has consented to the work through their words or deeds (like through involvement in the project, or by requiring the improvement in the lease). But, regardless of whether the owner is substantially involved in the job, a lien against the tenant's interest could be on the table (more on that in a second). If the airport is on public land, then mechanics lien cannot attach to the property, as laid out by § 6 of Massachusetts' mechanics lien statute. But, that section blocks liens against publicly owned land - and, it may still be possible to lien the tenant's interest in the property (i.e. their lease) since the lien wouldn't be attaching to land. And, a lien against a lease could be really beneficial because it may put the tenant in breach of their lease agreement, or the lease may require the tenant to remove or bond off all lien claims. Either way, that'd put pressure on the tenant to do the right thing and pay what's owed. Finally, keep in mind that legal claims against your customer may well be on the table too - such as breach of contract claims or claims under Massachusett's public prompt payment laws. Sending invoice reminders, payment demand letters, or even Notices of Intent to Lien (as applicable) can leverage those potential claims into payment. Additionally, consulting a local Massachusetts construction attorney could help to identify what options make the most sense for you. This articles may be useful as well: (1) What Happens to Mechanics Lien Rights If My Project is a Tenant Improvement?; and (2) A Public Entity Hired Me on a Construction Project – What Happens If I Don’t Get Paid?
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