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Lien for Service Calls and Preventative Maintenance work

Washington DCMechanics LienRight to Lien

What is considered permanent improvement/mechanic lien protection? We have Service Calls and Preventative Maintenance works for one owner. All properties locate at DC. The invoices the owner owe us include monthly Preventative Maintenance Agreement Billings, and individual Service Calls. Can we file mechanic lien for the unpaid invoices? How to consider these invoices as jobs when filing mechanic lien? i.e. Can all the unpaid service call invoices and monthly Preventative Maintenance Agreement billings for one single property be considered as one job to file one lien?

1 reply

Jul 23, 2019
That's a great question. Let's look at general mechanics lien rules, then Washington DC's mechanics lien laws for determining what is and is not lienable work.

Generally, in order to file a mechanics lien, there must be a permanent improvement to the underlying property. Now, nothing is really "permanent", but generally there must be a lasting impact on the property in oder for lien rights to arise. Generally, prevenative or maintenance work won't give rise to mechanics lien rights. Work that's regularly required for upkeep of property is typically not lienable.

§ 40-301.01 of the Washington DC mechanics lien statute discusses the ability to file a mechanics lien when hired by an owner. It states that a mechanics lien will be available for "Every building erected, improved, added to, or repaired at the direction of the owner, or the owner’s authorized agent..." Following that principle, it would appear that repair work will generally be subject to mechanics liens, as well as work that adds to or improves the property. So, if the work performed falls into the description above, then the work performed may well be lienable. But, recall that work that must be regularly performed might not necessarily qualify for lien rights.

Now, as for filing one lien against multiple, separate properties - keep in mind that mechanics liens attach to the property, not a person. And, mechanics lien rights will arise against the specific property that's been improved. If work is done at multiple properties, the work done at each individual property will generally create a separate lien right in each, if the work is lienable. More on that idea here: Can You Group Multiple Projects and Properties Into One Mechanics Lien?

For more information on Washington DC mechanics lien claims, here's a great resource: Washington DC Mechanics Lien Guide and FAQs.
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