In most states, the law provides design professionals, contractors, and material suppliers with special lien rights to provide them with security in the event of an up-chain payment default. The contractor’s lien (or mechanic’s lien) has priority over several other types of previously recorded liens, making it a powerful tool in any payment dispute. However, it is important for contractors to understand that, because these liens grant special rights, they have a limited life and obtaining one requires strict compliance with statutory and common law procedures. Often, these procedures are not well-known to those who are inexperienced in preparing and filing them.
For most of my career, I have been advising clients on the proper use, preparation and filing of contractor liens. I have filed countless mechanic’s liens and I frequently lecture to both attorneys and contractors on the rules, procedures, priorities, and potential pitfalls of the process. Additionally, I understand when it is worthwhile for a client to invest in obtaining a mechanic’s lien, and when it is not. My goal is to steer clients toward liens only when it will increase their chances of getting paid and improve their negotiating position.
At times it helps to understand some of the legal concepts that affect the construction industry on a deeper level. I have collected a few articles of interest to share with you. Remember, however, that this is a general resource to assist you in understanding concepts, not legal advice on a specific matter. If you have questions about how these general concepts apply to a particular situation, I strongly urge you to contact your counsel to discuss the particulars of your situation.