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If a mechanics lien was placed on a property the day before the house was sold, how can we pro-sue the lien?

NevadaMechanics Lien

Our office has been trying to collect a past due balance from a home owner and we placed the lien through Zlien the day before their house was sold. We have confirmation the lien was accurately placed, but we would like to know how the lien will help us now that the home has been sold.

1 reply

Feb 25, 2019
Great question! When a property has a mechanics lien attached to it, the sale of that property won't typically affect the lien claim. Naturally, that would alter the lien enforcement process a little since a different owner would be involved. However, where a lien has actually been secured, the mechanics lien ties to the underlying property where work was done - not to any individual person. So, the fact that a property owner transfers their title to the land to someone else after a lien has been secured against that property won't cancel the already-filed lien (plus, even if the lien is filed after the sale of property, a lien will still generally be effective if the other requirements are met, which zlien discusses here: What Happens If I Filed My Mechanics Lien After the Property Was Sold?). Keep in mind, though, that where a lien filing has occurred at the same time that a property sale is underway, it's a good idea to make sure all parties involved are given notice of the lien filing - including the old owners, the new owners (and their mortgage company), and any other higher-tiered contractors or subs that were also on the job. These parties will likely need notice just to make the lien filing effective. Plus, the more parties aware of the lien claim, the greater the chances it will be paid - for one, the sheer number of potential parties to pay the lien increases, and for another, a new owner might put pressure on the old owner to pay the lien, the mortgage company might get involved since their priority is in question, and any other higher-tiered parties might also become involved if the issue escalates. As far as exactly how a lien will help after the property has been sold, all of the same ways that a mechanics lien helps to force payment should still work to help a claimant get paid after the sale of property. Plus, where another party has bought the property, there's additional pressure since (1) a new owner would likely be extremely upset to find out a lien was on the property (but not disclosed) at the time of closing; and (2) the new owner's mortgage company would likely be mortified to find out their mortgage may hold second priority position to a mechanics lien. In that case, conceivably, the new owner and their mortgage company would put enormous pressure on the previous owner to resolve the lien claim. As always, if a lien claim and notice of the lien claim isn't enough to compel payment itself, eventually utilizing a Notice of Intent to Foreclose might work to force payment as well.
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