Mechanic Liens

 

Properly filing a mechanic’s lien is the  most effective way to get paid, hands down.

Filing a mechanic’s lien has a number of immediate effects that all pressure the parties to pay your debt, including:

  • Prevents the property’s sale, refinancing or transfer
  • Allows you to directly sue the property owner
  • Freezes the flow of funds on the project
  • Secures your debt (like a mortgage) with the property
  • Involves lenders, owners and investors in your dispute

While there are many forms out in the marketplace, it can be a huge mistake to file a mechanics lien pro se.  Mechanic lien laws can be very complex, and you make huge mistakes by filing without the assistance of counsel. Plus, having a lawyer prepare your lien claim means you can get legal advice about your specific lien rights, the dollar value of your lien claim, the type of lien you should file, and more.

Frequently Asked Questions about Mechanic Liens

How Long Do We Have To File A Lien?

This depends on where you’re performing construction services.  Here are the general rules:

California:  90 days from completion of entire project (not just your work), unless a Notice of Completion is filed, and then only 60 days from filing of notice.

Louisiana:  60 days from substantial completion of entire project (not just your work), unless a Notice of Completion is filed, and then only 30 days from filing.

Washington: 90 days from your last furnishing of labor and/or materials to the project.

Oregon:  75 days from your last furnishing of labor and/or materials to the project.

Are We Required to File Any Notices

Whether a notice is required depends on your role in the project and the project’s state.  Even when notice is required, there may be applicable exceptions to the rule, and therefore, seeking the advice of an attorney is helpful.  Here are the general rules:

California:  Preliminary notice required from anyone who did not contract with the property owner directly within 20 days of first starting work.

Louisiana:  Typically no.  If a material suppliers, notice of intent to lien required within 75 days of starting work, or 10 days before filing a lien, whichever is earlier.  Equipment rental companies must deliver a notice of lease within 10 days of delivering equipment.

Washington: Preliminary notice required from anyone who did not contract with the property owner directly within 60 days of first starting work.

Oregon:  Preliminary notice required from anyone who did not contract with the property owner directly within 8 days of first starting work.

If I'm Being Promised Payment, Should I Wait To File A Lien?

Absolutely not.  If there is one fundamental rule about mechanic liens that applies uniformly across the United States, it is this: Promises to Pay Will Not Extend Your Lien Deadline.

If you rely on the promises and refrain from filing your lien, your lien deadline could expire never to return again.

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