That’s a great question, as the procedures and terminology of mechanics lien law can tend to get confusing. “Enforcing” your lien claim means actually filing a lawsuit to enforce the action and foreclose on the property itself. We even wrote an entire article on the subject: What is Enforcing a Mechanics Lien? Since a mechanics lien gives you a security interest in the property, a foreclosure action is a way to squeeze the funds out of the property.
Filing a mechanics lien claim in the county clerk’s office only secures your right to enforce a mechanics lien. Eventually, the claim either needs to be settled between the parties and released, or brought to court. Claimants in Mississippi, as you pointed out, have 180 days to enforce their lien claim. But this should be considered a last resort. We've touched on this before: Is Foreclosing a Mechanics Lien Worth It? There are a lot of things to consider and depending on the amount of the lien claim, and the number of other creditors, or encumbrances (such as a mortgage or other lien claimants) a full lawsuit may not be ultimately worth it. There is only so much of the pie to go around, and you may not be guaranteed a slice when all is said and done.
Another option to take is sending a Notice of Intent to Foreclose (NOI). We love these here at Levelset. Consider them a final warning shot to the non-paying party. Sending one of these notices demonstrates that the claimant (a) knows their rights, and (b) are willing to enforce them. Given how powerful a mechanics lien is, and how much property owners despise them, this is usually enough to induce payment. In fact, according to our numbers, our users who have an NOI policy in place see 90% of their NOIs paid within 90 days! You can download a free Notice of Intent to Foreclose template here.