Mechanics Lien

A mechanics lien is a legal document that places a security interest on the title to a property. A lien is a helpful tool for contractors or suppliers that aren’t paid for the work or services they have provided to a project or property.

A mechanics lien is also known as a construction lien, property lien, claim of lien, laborer’s lien, contractor’s lien, or supplier’s lien. In one state, it’s even called a “Statement of Claim and Privilege.”

Who can file a lien?

Contractors, subcontractors, materials and equipment vendors, laborers and others who provide services or products to a construction project may file a lien. Mechanics liens are only available on private projects. In the event of non-payment on a public project, contractors can use a similar remedy known as a bond claim.

In general, anyone contributing improvements to a property (by labor or materials) has the right to file a lien. This is known as “lien rights.” Every state has different requirements for protecting lien rights. In some cases, a contractor or supplier must file other documents before, during, and/or after the project in order to maintain their lien rights. 

How to file a lien

A contractor or supplier must file a completed lien form with a Court Clerk or County Recorder’s office where the property is located. 

Lien filing requirements, including deadlines, types of documents, and document formatting differ in every state. It’s crucial to file a mechanics lien on time and with proper supporting documentation. A contractor can have their lien denied due to simple mistakes, even if they protected their lien rights properly. 

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