One aspect of the law that the average person may not be familiar with is the mechanic's lien. This legal provision provides security for certain professionals who are doing work in advance of their payment. The following article provides a brief guide to this important feature of the law.
What Is a Mechanic's Lien?
When a tradesperson, such as a contractor, subcontractor, or mechanic, is doing work without being paid upfront, they risk not being paid in full after the work is completed. To protect tradespeople or other professionals who find themselves in this situation, the law allows the tradesperson to file a lien for the property that is involved.
For instance, if a contractor builds a home for someone and is not paid in full after the house is completed, the builder can place a lien on that property. Having a lien on a property is extremely inconvenient for the property owner because the lien shows up on title searches and makes it extremely unlikely that a property can be sold or that an owner can borrow using the property as security.
It's important to note that mechanic liens can be filed by subcontractors as well. If a subcontractor is not paid, they can sue the contractor but they can also file a mechanic's lien on the property in question.
What if a Mechanic's Lien Is Filed Against You?
If a mechanic's lien is filed on property that you own, your first step is to establish the validity of the lien. For example, the filing might have come outside of the time limit set by the relevant laws of your state. Also, the person filing may not have given you any preliminary notice that they intended to file, which is required in some situations. An attorney can help you determine if a filing is not valid and how to proceed in these circumstances.
If the lien is legally valid, you naturally have the option of paying the filer in full. If you feel full payment is not justified by the circumstance, you have the option of fighting the lien court. You will almost certainly need the assistance of expert counsel if you take this course of action.
How Do You File a Mechanic's Lien?
A mechanic's lien must be filed with the county where the property in question is located or where the materials involved were supplied. You will also typically need to inform the property owner and perhaps certain others in advance that you intend to file a lien. The exact requirements for filing vary from state to state, so it's crucial that you consult with an experienced attorney to make certain that your filing conforms with all of the relevant laws.
After being involved in a serious auto accident with a drunk driver, I struggled heavily with getting the driver's insurance company to open a claim. When the insurance company started pushing back, I knew I needed to do something. I spent a lot of time digging through the laws surrounding auto accident claims so that I knew what my legal rights were. I even talked with an auto accident attorney. I created this site to teach others about what I learned, including my court experience. I hope it helps you to determine how you should proceed with your auto accident case.