I have a written contract (email agreement) between myself and property owner …is that sufficient in Mass for a mechanics lien?

11 months ago

Lien on massachusetts project when the contract is in email form and tex only… The property owner also represented to potential lenders that contract was in place.

Senior Legal Associate Levelset
404 reviews

In Massachusetts, courts have held that emails can create a written contract – including for the purposes of establishing a mechanics lien – as long as the other conditions for a Massachusetts contract have been met. Generally, taken together, the communications must convey an offer of services and/or materials, the price for that work, and a clear acceptance of the agreement. But, in a specific situation, whether or not a contract has been formed will be heavily dependent on the exact messages exchanged which have allegedly created a contract.

So, a physical agreement isn’t necessarily required in order for a “written contract” to exist in Massachusetts, but an email and/or text chain purportedly forming a contract would need to fulfil all other requirements for Massachusetts contracts.

For an in-depth look at exactly what terms must be included for a contract to be formed, Strang, Scott, Giroux & Young has a great Massachusett-specific article: Do You Have a Contract You Can Lien On?. Ultimately, though, for the most clarity – it’d be helpful to consult a Maryland construction attorney. They’d be able to review all relevant communications and documentation and advise on whether a contract has been formed in your specific circumstances. Plus, Maryland mechanics liens require legal action (a lawsuit) be filed – so an attorney would likely be needed in order to file a lien, anyway.

For more information on Massachusetts mechanics liens: (1) Massachusetts Mechanics Lien Guide and FAQs; and (2) How to File a Massachusetts Mechanics Lien – A Practical Guide.

Disclaimer: The information presented here is not legal advice and should not be construed as such. Rather, this content is provided for informational purposes. Do not act on this information as if it is advice. Further, this post does not create any attorney-client relationship. If you do need legal advice, seek the help of a local attorney.
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