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Home>Levelset Community>Legal Help>On a private commercial construction project will a lien in New York prevent the owner from occupying the building if they have not already taken procession?

On a private commercial construction project will a lien in New York prevent the owner from occupying the building if they have not already taken procession?

New York

We supplied roof trusses to a subcontractor in NewYork on a private commercial project. The subcontractor has not paid us saying the owner has not paid them and the owner asserts they have. I will lien if I have to, but when I do I would like to put more pressure on the owner. A lien can take a long time and be expensive to prefect. Just looking for any extra leverage.

1 reply

Aug 15, 2018
That's a good question. When a payment dispute is occurring between two parties up the payment chain, a mechanics lien is often a good solution to be sure that their dispute doesn't stop payment from being received. Unfortunately, a mechanics lien filing will likely have little to no impact on whether the owner may occupy the building. Of course, a lien can still be an effective option for obvious reasons. Clouding the property title tends to speed up the payment and can create pressure from both the property owner and even a mortgage holder to clear up the dispute. Because no one wants to deal with a mechanics lien filing, sending a document like a Notice of Intent to Lien can start to put this pressure on even earlier. The Notice of Intent to Lien acts a lot like a warning shot - it states that if payment isn't made soon, a mechanics lien will be filed. Often, this document is enough to compel payment or at least to get settlement talks rolling. Plus, it's inexpensive and relatively risk-free. You can learn more about it here: Notice of Intent To Lien May Be Enough To Get You Paid. If a Notice of Intent does not lead to payment, a mechanics lien will often do the trick. The cost of filing (also known as "perfecting") a mechanics lien is relatively inexpensive - at least compared to other recovery options, such as a lawsuit. After a mechanics lien has been filed, another document - the Notice of Intent to Foreclose - can also put pressure on a lien claimant. A Notice of Intent to Foreclose acts similarly to a Notice of Intent to Lien - it states that, if payment isn't made soon, the filed mechanics lien will be foreclosed/enforced. While nobody likes a lien, people hate lawsuits even more. Plus, a lawsuit that could result in the loss of a property title raises the stakes even more - making a Notice of Intent to Foreclose that much more effective. Ultimately, though, if a Notice of Intent to Lien, a mechanics lien filing, and a Notice of Intent to Foreclose are not enough to compel payment, enforcing the lien via lawsuit may become necessary.
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