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Can more than one person or business have a lien on the same property

MissouriLien PriorityMechanics LienRight to Lien

Friend wants to put a lien on his deceased father's farm because he has been taking off the land and house caught in fire so step mother moved out and hasn't paid him anything or pay him back for expenses but the city has a lien also already, so can he also get a judgement and put one on also

1 reply

Jul 12, 2019
This is a good question. And one for which there are multiple parts: 1) whether a lien is a allowed at all and is an appropriate remedy for the situation; 2) whether a pre-existing lien prohibits an additional lien being filed; and 3) whether filing a lien would provide a benefit.

While there is generally no specific prohibition on multiple liens being filed against the same property by different parties, the question then becomes whether filing a lien would actually make any difference, or provide any benefit, to the secondary lien claimant. The answer to that question usually requires an examination of lien priority.

Is a Lien Allowed and the Appropriate Remedy?

In Missouri, mechanics liens are allowed in favor of general contractors, subcontractors, laborers, suppliers of material, equipment lessors, registered architects, engineers, and surveyors who provide labor or materials for the improvement of property (subject to some exceptions).

For owner-occupied residential projects of 4 units or less, only parties with a direct contract with the owner-occupier may assert a mechanics lien, unless the owner has signed a Consent of Owner document which allows mechanics liens by unpaid subs and suppliers.

So, the first question that must be answered was whether construction-related services were provided to the property. If not, a mechanics lien not the appropriate remedy to recover whatever amounts are claimed to be due.

Does a Previously Filed Lien Prohibit Other Liens from Being Filed?

The answer here is pretty straightforward. There is generally no prohibition an filing an otherwise valid lien solely because there are other liens claimed against the property. While there may be situations in which a lien may not be filed, the existence of a prior lien is not, by itself, sufficient to prohibit a party filing their own lien.

Does it Matter / Will it Provide a Benefit?

This question s harder to answer. In the event that a mechanics lien is appropriate, and the necessary rules and requirements (including notice requirements) have been met in order for the lien to be proper and effective, it still may or may not provide any real benefit depending on the nature of the pre-existing claim.

This is generally determined by two things. The priority of all the claims/encumbrances on the property, and the amount for which the property sells in foreclosure to pay the claims. The claimants are paid in order of priority (with some parties having equal priority each getting a pro rata share), so if the money runs out prior to some claimants getting paid, those claimants are out of luck.

In Missouri, a mechanics lien only has priority over subsequent encumbrances. This means that a mechanics lien would have priority over encumbrances not recorded at the time the first work began on the property, but would not have priority over pre-existing liens.
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