Home>Levelset Community>Legal Help>I am a contractor who has not been paid for $8,700 of services performed at a hotel in Maryland. Am I able to place a mechanic's lien on the hotel to try to recover the money that is owed to me?
I am a contractor who has not been paid for $8,700 of services performed at a hotel in Maryland. Am I able to place a mechanic's lien on the hotel to try to recover the money that is owed to me?
See my question. 4 separate invoices totaling $8,700. Owners do not respond to my attempts to set up a payment program.
Nov 19, 2018
That's a great question, and I'm sorry that it's come to this. Maryland is home to some interesting mechanics lien rules. Before looking at those - it's worth noting that a Notice of Intent to Lien is often effective to compel payment without the need for actually filing a mechanics lien.
A Notice of Intent to Lien lets a property owner know you mean business - it states that if payment isn't made and made soon a lien will be filed on the property. Considering the drastic effects a lien filing can have on a property, often, owners will be amenable to resolving the dispute before it comes down to a lien claim.
You can learn more about that option here: What Is a Notice of Intent to Lien and Should You Send One?
Maryland mechanics liens and the 15% rule
Anyway, regarding the availability of a mechanics lien, any party who furnishes labor or materials to a construction project may be entitled to mechanics lien protection - as long as the project qualifies for lien protection. Unlike any other state, if work is being performed on an existing structure, building, or improvement, Maryland only allows mechanics liens when the property has been repaired, rebuilt, or improved to the extent of 15% of its value.
So, if a building is new construction, the 15% rule will be irrelevant. However, if the building, structure, or improvement already stands, then the project must improve that already-existing property by 15%.
Now, this does not mean the unpaid portion must equal 15%, and for subcontractors, it doesn't mean that their portion of the improvement must equal 15% of the entire property's improvement. But, the overall project must improve the property by 15% in order to give rise to lien rights.
All in all, it's a dumb rule - but a rule nonetheless. If the overall project improved the property by at least 15%, and if all other requirement have been fulfilled, a Maryland claimant will have 180 days from last furnishing labor or materials to the project to file their mechanics lien.
As for actually filing that lien, this article should be helpful: How to File a Maryland Mechanics Lien A Practical Guide.
Lastly, note that if a mechanics lien is unavailable there are always other options for working with property owners for payment (and other options for making a claim, if working together is unfruitful).