Mechanics Lien

Clients Rate Lawyers on our Platform 4.9/5 Stars
based on 2,003 reviews

Jump to Section

Need help with a Mechanics Lien?

Post Project Now

Post Your Project (It's Free)

Get Bids to Compare

 Hire Your Lawyer

What is a Mechanics Lien?

A mechanic’s lien is a legal claim on a property that helps ensure they guarantee payment. Liens are also often used by a construction company against property that builders or contractors work on. It essentially places a claim on a property until payment is made in full.

How a Mechanics Lien Works

When contractors or builders are not paid for the improvements or other work they complete on a property, one choice for legal recourse that they have is a mechanic’s lien. When a mechanic’s lien is filed, it gives the construction company the right to seize monies owed and can lead to you losing your home.

Here’s how it works:

A construction company completes work on your home. When the work is complete, payment should be received in full. If a general contractor is hired along with the construction company, they are required to make payments to the construction company on your behalf. If that doesn’t happen, you can still be held liable for the payments. This is true even if you have already personally made payments to the general contractor.

In order to obtain a mechanic’s lien, most states require that contractors complete a three-step process:

Step One: Give Notice

When payment isn’t received immediately, that does not immediately constitute a need to file a mechanic’s lien. Instead, construction companies must first advise you of the amount due and give you a certain timeframe to take care of the dues, typically anywhere from 20-30 days from the time of the notice.

Step Two: File a “Claim of Mechanic’s Lien”

If payment is not remitted by the end of the 20-30 day notice period, construction companies can formally file a claim of mechanics lien with the courts. This establishes the lien itself and should be filed in the same county that the property is located in.

Step Three: Work out a Solution or File a Lawsuit

Once the lien is filed, the time clock starts. During this phase of the mechanic’s lien process, construction companies must attempt to work out a solution for a pre-determined amount of time, usually two to six months. If a resolution is not reached in this timeframe, the company can choose to file a lawsuit.

How to Avoid a Mechanic’s Lien

Mechanics liens can put you on the hook for money that you have already paid, especially if you work with a general contractor that does not pay the construction company that oversees the operation.

Since a mechanic’s lien can cause you to have to pay double or potentially cause you to lose your house, it’s important to take steps to avoid this happening. Here is a quick rundown of what you can do to avoid a mechanic’s lien:

  • Use joint checks : if you’re working with multiple entities to complete a construction job, write checks in both of their names to ensure everyone gets paid
  • Ask for a lien waiver : lien waivers make it so that the homeowner cannot be held responsible for paying anyone that the contractor should be paying
  • Pay entities yourself : eliminate the guesswork and risk of payments being missed by directly paying each entity yourself, separately

Check out this article to learn more about how mechanics liens work.

Meet some lawyers on our platform

Daehoon P.

45 projects on CC
View Profile

Kelvin R.

5 projects on CC
View Profile

Max M.

66 projects on CC
View Profile

Bryan B.

58 projects on CC
View Profile

What’s Included in a Mechanics Lien?

Effective mechanics liens protect construction companies and contractors from not being paid for completed work. In order to be successful, they must meet certain benchmarks and include vital information about the processes carried out to recover the money.

Here are a few things that any successful mechanics lien should include:

  • Description of the property
  • Dollar amount owed
  • County in which the property is located
  • Name of the claimant
  • Name of defendant
  • Signatures and dates

Including all vital information on mechanics, a lien is essential to make sure the process goes as smoothly as possible. If any details are missing or incorrect, it could make it more difficult to enforce the lien, therefore causing further issues with recovering missed payments.

Here is an article about the most important aspects of a successful mechanics lien.

ContractsCounsel Mechanics Lien Image

Image via Pexels by Cleyder

Mechanics Lien Examples

Mechanics liens are essential to making sure any monies owed are paid to contractors and construction companies after work is completed. To help you understand how they work, here are some examples of mechanics liens:

Taylor’s construction company completed a complete bathroom remodel on Theira’s home. When the work is completed, the owner of the construction company realizes that $4,000 is missing in payments promised per the construction contract from Theira directly.

In response, the owner provides notice to Theira of the amount of money due and a due date 20-30 days in the future. When this time period passes, Taylor’s construction files a mechanics lien.

Theira realizes that if she doesn’t pay the balance owed, her home is at risk for liquidation or foreclosure. She reviews her design-build contract and confirms that she owes the payment, and pays the remaining balance.

The construction company gives Theira a release of lien, and the issue is resolved.

Learn more about mechanics liens by checking out this article .

How to File a Mechanics Lien

It’s never a good thing when you must file a mechanics lien, but the protections it provides are vital to ensuring you are paid. If you want to file this type of lien, the process is simple:

First, provide notice to the homeowner. This notice should include a description of the work provided, information about any monies paid, and should include how much money is owed. This notice should state a period in which you expect a response, which should be anywhere from 20-30 days.

Once the notice paperwork is complete, serve the owner.

If payment is not received, the next step is to prepare the claim of lien and file it with the county courthouse in the same area as the property is located. Be sure to check the laws in your state to determine how long you must file a claim of lien, since many states have a limit on this timeframe.

Lastly, serve the lien to the homeowner. Check the laws in your state to confirm the timeframe in which you must deliver a copy of the lien to the homeowner.

Learn more about who needs a subcontractor agreement by checking out this article .

How to Be Released of a Mechanics Lien

Getting released from a mechanics lien typically happens when payment is made in full for any outstanding balance on work completed. If you have been served with a mechanics lien, the paperwork you received when you were notified should include details about the dollar amount owed and how you can remit payment to remove the lien.

Once you make the payment, be sure to ask for a release of lien . This serves as receipt of your payment and ensures that you can prove that you have completed the steps needed to release yourself from the lien. Retain this for your records.

If you need help with a mechanics lien or need guidance on being released from one, construction lawyers can help. Post a project on ContractsCounsel today to connect with construction lawyers who specialize in mechanics liens.

How ContractsCounsel Works
Hiring a lawyer on ContractsCounsel is easy, transparent and affordable.
1. Post a Free Project
Complete our 4-step process to provide info on what you need done.
2. Get Bids to Review
Receive flat-fee bids from lawyers in our marketplace to compare.
3. Start Your Project
Securely pay to start working with the lawyer you select.

Meet some of our Mechanics Lien Lawyers

View Annais
Member Since:
October 28, 2020

Annais N.

Attorney
Free Consultation
Get Free Proposal
Miami, FL
9 Yrs Experience
Licensed in FL, LA, MD
Loyola University New Orleans College of Law

Attorney (FL, LA, MD) | Commercial Real Estate Attorney and previous Closing Manager (Driving Growth from $10M to $50M+/month).

View John
Member Since:
November 11, 2020

John H.

Attorney-at-Law
Free Consultation
Get Free Proposal
Mobile, AL
11 Yrs Experience
Licensed in AL
Thomas Goode Jones School of Law

John Daniel "J.D." Hawke is an experienced attorney with a law practice in Mobile, Alabama. He was born in Fairhope, Alabama and after earning his undergraduate degree at Auburn University, he received a law degree from Thomas Goode Jones School of Law in 2010. After law school, he formed the Law Office of J.D. Hawke LLC and over the last decade he has fought incredibly hard for each and everyone of his clients. His practice focuses on representing people facing criminal charges and clients dealing with family law matters. In addition to criminal defense and domestic relations cases, he also regularly handles contract disputes, personal injury cases, small business issues, landlord/tenant disputes, document drafting, and estate planning. He is licensed to practice law in the State of Alabama and the United States District Court for the Southern District of Alabama.

View Thomas
Member Since:
October 30, 2020

Thomas C.

Partner
Free Consultation
Get Free Proposal
Denver, CO
9 Yrs Experience
Licensed in CO
University of Colorado Law School

Thomas Codevilla is Partner at SK&S Law Group where he focuses on Data Privacy, Security, Commercial Contracts, Corporate Finance, and Intellectual Property. Read more at Skandslegal.com Thomas’s clients range from startups to large enterprises. He specializes in working with businesses to build risk-based data privacy and security systems from the ground up. He has deep experience in GDPR, CCPA, COPPA, FERPA, CALOPPA, and other state privacy laws. He holds the CIPP/US and CIPP/E designations from the International Association of Privacy Professionals. Alongside his privacy practice he brings a decade of public and private transactional experience, including formations, financings, M&A, corporate governance, securities, intellectual property licensing, manufacturing, regulatory compliance, international distribution, China contracts, and software-as-a-service agreements.

View Michael
Member Since:
October 31, 2020

Michael B.

Attorney
Free Consultation
Get Free Proposal
Illinois
12 Yrs Experience
Licensed in IL, MN, WI
University of the Pacific

Michael has extensive experience advising companies from start-ups to established publicly-traded companies . He has represented businesses in a wide array of fields IT consulting, software solutions, web design/ development, financial services, SaaS, data storage, and others. Areas of expertise include contract drafting and negotiation, terms of use, business structuring and funding, company and employee policies, general transactional issues as well as licensing and regulatory compliance. His prior experience before entering private practice includes negotiating sales contracts for a Fortune 500 healthcare company, as well as regulatory compliance contracts for a publicly traded dental manufacturer. Mr. Brennan firmly believes that every business deserves a lawyer that is both responsive and dependable, and he strives to provide that type of service to every client.

View Lyndsey
Member Since:
October 31, 2020

Lyndsey G.

Attorney
Free Consultation
Get Free Proposal
Roseville, MN
8 Yrs Experience
Licensed in MN
Mitchell Hamline College of Law

Attorney of 6 years with experience evaluating and drafting contracts, formation document, and policies and procedures in multiple industries. Expanded to estate planning last year.

View George
Member Since:
November 3, 2020

George O.

Managing Attorney
Free Consultation
Get Free Proposal
Houston, Texas
15 Yrs Experience
Licensed in TX
South Texas College of Law

George is a lifelong Houston resident. He graduated from St. Thomas High School and then Texas A&M University. He obtained his Doctor of Jurisprudence from South Texas College of Law in 2007. He is experienced in real estate, estate planning & probate, civil/commercial matters, personal, injury, business matters, bankruptcy, general counsel on-demand, and litigation. He is active in the community serving as past-president of the St. Thomas Alumni Board, a current member of the Dads Club Aquatic Center Board of Directors, current member of the Dickinson Little Italy Festival of Galveston County Board of Directors, and former PTO President for Briarmeadow Charter School.

View Ramsey
Member Since:
November 4, 2020

Ramsey T.

Founding Partner
Free Consultation
Get Free Proposal
New York
25 Yrs Experience
Licensed in NY
William and Mary

My clients are often small and medium size technology companies, from the "idea" stage to clients who may have raised a round or three of capital and need to clean up a messy cap table. I help with all legal matters related to growth that keep founders up at night - hiring people, allocating equity, dealing with shareholders and investors, client negotiations and early litigation counseling (before you need a litigator). I've seen a lot, and because I run my own business, I understand the concerns that keep you up at night. I’ve been through, both on my own and through other clients, the “teething” pains that will inevitably arise as you scale-up – and I’m here to help you. I have over 20 years international experience devising and implementing robust corporate legal strategies and governance for large multinationals. I now focus on start-ups and early/medium stage technology companies to enable a sound legal foundation for your successful business operations. Many of my clients are international with US based holding companies or presences. My 17 years abroad helps me "translate" between different regimes and even enabling Civil and Common Law lawyers to come together. Regularly, I handle early stage financings including Convertible Notes, Seed and Series A/B financings; commercial and technology contracts; international transactions; tax; mergers and acquisitions.

Find the best lawyer for your project

Browse Lawyers Now

Want to speak to someone?

Get in touch below and we will schedule a time to connect!

Request a call