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We are not sure what form to use to put a lien against a property that is in a partnership with the family

New Mexico

We are in a partnership with the family ranch, 2 brothers each own 11% and parents own the rest of the interest in the property. We did all the improvements on our part of the ranch that we lease. This money did not come out of the partnership in anyway, it came out of 1 brothers pocket. The ranch is getting ready to sell and we would like to get paid for our improvements. Our banker suggested putting a lien on the property so we could get our money back out of it for all the improvements that we did ourselves.

1 reply

Sep 21, 2018
That's an interesting situation, and to be sure, this is not a typical mechanics lien scenario - as a general matter, mechanics liens are reserved for those in the construction industry who provide construction work and go unpaid. Of course, mechanics liens are available for the improvement of property - so looking at New Mexico's lien laws could help provide some clarity. Before going any further, it's important to note that lien deadlines are very strict, and if they are missed, potential lien claimants will need to find some other method for recovery. In New Mexico, parties who contracted directly with the property owner must file their mechanics lien within 120 days after the completion of the project. New Mexico provides lien protection to “Every person performing labor upon, providing or hauling equipment, tools or machinery for or furnishing materials to be used in the construction, alteration or repair of” property when done "at the instance of the owner of the building or other improvement or his agent." While a part-owner of property could argue that their work improved the property and was done at behest of an owner, § 48-2-4 of the New Mexico lien statute states that "...if such person (meaning, the contracting party) owned less than a fee simple estate in such land, then only his interest therein is subject to such lien." Thus, if the party who authorized work is only a part owner, and if the remaining ownership interest(s) did not approve said work, liening the other owner(s) portion of the property is likely not possible. If all property owners have approved the improvement of land, and if the lien claimant has performed work that is lienable, and if all notice and deadline requirements have been followed, then, conceivably, a lien might be filed in the situation described above. But again - this strays pretty far from the purpose of the New Mexico mechanics lien act, and manipulating laws for uses they're not intended is typically not advisable. But that does not mean some other type of lien (other than a mechanics lien) is not available.
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