How can we remove a mechanic’s lien

7 months ago

We bought a house on a tax sale and it has a Mechanic’s lien on it. The lien has not been renewed for years and we would like to sell the home, however the lien is still on it. My understanding is that the lien must be renewed every 6 months to be considered active so we should be able to get it removed at this point, but I cannot find a form to do so.

Senior Legal Associate Levelset

That’s a good question. Under § 429.170 of the Missouri mechanics lien statute, no mechanics lien shall exist for more than 6 months after it was filed unless an action to enforce the lien was filed within that 6 month time period. However, that doesn’t mean a mechanics lien filing will just disappear once it has expired. Instead, some action must generally be taken to remove a filed lien from the project property. Typically, this will require filing a civil action with the circuit court for the removal of the lien. In the case of a lien that was filed years ago, and where there has been no action to keep the lien alive, it should be pretty apparent that the lien should no longer stand. Another option might be to discharge the filed lien by securing a mechanics lien bond to bond off the filed lien. Though, this may come with some expense – particularly if the filed lien is for a large amount. Yet another option might be to send notice to the lien claimant that their lien is invalid and to demand that they release the filed lien. A lien claimant filing for the release of their lien is typically the fastest and cheapest way to have a filed mechanics lien removed. Of course, it might be hard to convince a lien claimant to take action to remove their own lien – but an owner may be able to pursue legal action against a lien claimant who has failed to release their invalid lien, and threatening to take action if the lien isn’t removed might help there. Though, obviously, reaching out and asking might be a better first step. If a lien claimant won’t remove their expired lien themselves, it would be wise to consult a local construction or real estate attorney to help with the removal of an expired lien. They will be able to advise on how to proceed, and if a civil action is necessary to remove the lien, they should be able to help with that representation as well.

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