What is the deadline for filing a lien for retainage

2 years ago

In general we always bill out retainage for our portion of work at the end of a project. We are always told when the project is at substantial completion retainage is released – but we have retainage bills that are nearing a year.

What is the general rule of thumb? Should we file a lien if we get nowhere with release or reduction of retainage?

Senior Legal Associate Levelset

In New York, withheld retainage amounts must be released within 30 days after final approval of the work. A failure to make a timely release of retainage results in an owner being liable for 1% interest per month on that payment. Under Section 10 of the New York mechanics lien statute, mechanics liens relative to retainage must be filed at any time within 90 days after the retainage payment is actually due. Thus, at most, a lien for retainage in New York must be filed within 120 days after final approval of the work. So, whether a lien is an available remedy at this point will depend on when final approval of the work was given.

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