Exploring Mechanic’s Liens

Despite the name, mechanic’s liens don’t relate to mechanics. Instead, they are typically used by subcontractors and suppliers to make a legal claim against a property that they have in part helped to affect, remodel or improve. Mechanic’s liens can be filed by laborers, suppliers, general contractors, sub contractors, sub- sub-contractors, and some others who have changed property. It is important to note that mechanic’s liens do not create individual liability against a property owner but rather only a lien, or interest in the property itself.

A mechanic’s lien works to the benefit of the subcontractor/supplier as opposed to the property owner. For example, if a property owner is remodeling their bathroom and the subcontractor who was hired to do the tile install hasn’t been paid by the GC, the subcontractor can place a lien against the house until it is paid. As long as the subcontractor properly and timely gave notice to the property owner before the property owner has paid the general contractor, if the property owner subsequently pays the general contractor, the property owner could remain liable for the monies due to the subcontractor. Conversely, if the subcontractor fails to timely and properly give the property owner notice of its mechanic’s lien, the property owner cannot be forced to pay twice.

Once a mechanic’s lien is properly filed, unless a lawsuit is filed in time, the lien will have no further effect, and the supplier/contractor will lose the benefit of the mechanic’s lien statute. That is why at thirty days after the recording of the statement of account (part of a mechanic’s lien), it is critical to contact an experienced construction litigation attorney with experience in debt collection. They will know how to handle the case and collect the money owed in the shortest amount of time possible.

If you are subcontractor, general contractor or construction materials supplier in Boston, Worcester, Springfield, or anywhere else in Massachusetts that has not been paid for a construction related debt, please contact give us a call at 508-620-6900 or click here to submit an online inquiry.