Construction Law FAQs

What is a mechanic’s lien?

A mechanic’s lien secures payment of a claim arising from improvement to real estate, which can be foreclosed and sold to pay the debt.

Who can file a mechanic’s lien?

A licensed contractor, subcontractor, or material supplier for a building project who has not been paid for the services or materials provided for the project can all file a mechanic’s lien.

How is the mechanic’s lien filed?

Prior to filing the Mechanic’s Lien Statement, you may be required to give a Pre-Lien Notice to the correct property owner via personal delivery or certified mail. This can be crucial to validating your mechanic’s lien rights. If no Pre-Lien Notice was served, your Mechanic’s Lien Statement may be considered invalid.

  • Contractors must include the Pre-Lien Notice with their written contract. However, if only one spouse/owner signs the written contract that contains the Pre-Lien Notice, you should serve the other spouse/owner within 10 days of the contract date by certified mail.
    • If a verbal contract is entered into, the contractor must serve the owner with the Pre-lien Notice within 10 days after the work is agreed upon.
  • Subcontractors must serve all property owners with a Pre-Lien Notice within 45 days of the first day of work.

Next, the Mechanic’s Lien Statement must be filed within 120 days of the date the work is completed. Again, if this deadline is missed, the statement is invalid.

  • To collect money owed, the lien holder must begin the foreclosure process by filing a lawsuit to foreclose on the property.

Attorneys’ Fees

The lien holder who is successful on foreclosing upon their lien may recover their attorneys’ fees.

What do I do if I missed the deadline?

All deadlines are strictly enforced and must be adhered to in order to have a valid and enforceable mechanic’s lien. However, there may be alternative remedies available to you by filing a lawsuit.

Seek Experienced Legal Counsel

Where you need assistance in connection with a mechanic’s lien or a foreclosure proceeding, our experienced construction law attorneys have the skills and background to help. To schedule a consultation to discuss your matter, contact Smith Paulson O’Donnell & Erickson, PLC today.