A mechanics lien is a claim against property for the value of services provided to a property owner with respect to that property. The most common instances that give rise to mechanic liens tend to involve home improvement services provided by a contractor or subcontractor. If the property owner contracts for certain services with a contractor, the work is then performed by the contractor, and the property owner refuses or otherwise fails to pay for those services as agreed, the contractor may file a lien against the property, which may be referred to as a mechanic lien, a construction lien, or a contractor’s lien. By placing a lien against the property, the contractor is attempting to secure payment of the unpaid services by using the property itself.
Typically, you must give notice to the person against whom you have been awarded a judgment, according to the laws of your state. Next, some sort of document verifying the lien must be filed in the appropriate office in the jurisdiction in which the real estate is located. If a judgment debtor owns real estate in multiple counties, for instance, then it may be necessary to file the mechanic lien in each of those counties. In many states, liens are filed in a county recorder’s office, a county court, or other similar office. Again, the exact procedures for filing and perfecting a mechanic lien vary widely from state to state. In any state, however, there are strict deadlines for filing mechanic liens, as well as notice requirements and procedures that must be followed in order to successfully file and perfect an enforceable mechanic lien.
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Getting a mechanic lien released can often be as simple as paying the underlying bill that led to the lien. By satisfying the debt owed to a contractor, for instance, the contractor will be left with no valid legal claim against the property, and so is required by law to release the mechanic lien by filing the appropriate paperwork or release documents with the relevant government office. However, if the underlying bill for services is disputed, either due to claims of poor, inadequate, or incomplete workmanship, or due to disagreement as to the terms of the original contract for services, getting mechanic’s lien may be far more complex. If paying the claim as alleged by the contractor is not an option for the property owner, then some other legal action must be taken in order to resolve the underlying debt, as well as the mechanic lien.
Contacting an attorney who is experienced in small business collections and creditor-debtor relations can be essential to properly filing, enforcing, and releasing a mechanic lien. Be sure to consult an attorney in order to ensure that you have followed all necessary laws and procedures related to mechanic liens in your jurisdiction.