I filed a few mechanic liens in the following states and I would like to know if I can include additional cost.
Feb 16, 2018
The general answer (throughout all states) to the question of whether extraneous amounts or additional costs can be included on a lien claim itself is "no." In almost all cases, the value of the lien itself is limited to the value of the work performed and unpaid (or artificially limited by some other means, such as the amount left unpaid to the GC). However, in many cases, the costs of filing and enforcing a lien can or must be awarded by the court to a successful claimant in a foreclosure/enforcement action.
If your question was whether additional amounts can be added to the lien claim pursuant to performing additional unpaid work on the project (or because of a recalculation of the amount due) the answer is a bit different. Additional work would likely result in proper amounts for which a lien may be claimed, but the ability to add the amount to an already filed lien is generally limited by whether the original lien period has run. If the deadline to file a lien has passed, modifying or amending a lien to add additional amounts is usually not allowed. An additional lien may potentially be filed in this circumstance, however.
In the specific states you mentioned:
Missouri: Missouri mechanics liens do not allow attorney’s fees, interest, or consequential damages to be included in the lien amount. And, Missouri mechanics lien filings must include a “just and true account” of the amount alleged due. For general contractors this can just be a “lump sum,” although its a good idea to include as much detail as possible. Subcontractors, however, must include an itemization of the materials and labor furnished and unpaid.
Minnesota: Attorney’s fees may not be included in the lien amount in Minnesota, but are generally awarded to the prevailing party in a foreclosure action. Other costs not included in the lien amount are surety bond premiums, “soft costs,” and costs of extra materials not authorized by the owner. Interest, however, is both recoverable, and may be included in the lien amount.
Arkansas: Arkansas law allows for a broad recovery through a mechanics lien. Amounts that may be recovered include the debt, interest, and costs. Attorney's fees may also be awarded. However, these amounts are awarded by the court in an enforcement action – and are allowed by the court whether or not the lien creditor included those amounts in the lien. It may, therefore, be advisable to not include any extraneous amounts and be cautious, as they may be awarded by the court in a successful enforcement action - and it lessens the chance the lien would be attacked for overstating the amount due.
Further, Arkansas law restricts a claimant's ability to claim "profits" in its mechanics lien claim. The general rule is that profits may not be included in a lien claim, and therefore, only the true costs of the labor, materials, services or work furnished can be claimed.