Dissolving Massachusetts Mechanic’s Liens

The Mechanic’s Lien statute creates a way for general contractors, sub-contractors, architects and suppliers to get paid by the property owner with whom they have no contract. The theory is that to the extent that you improve the owner or tenant’s property, you should be protected from losing the money owed on that work. Filing a lien is often the best way to do this. However, successfully attaching the property interests of an owner or tenant requires strict compliance with each condition of the statute. If done wrong, a mechanic’s lien fails to give any security and can create a “slander of title”, making you liable to the property owner. Fly-by-night internet discount services that purport to prepare mechanic’s liens often do not do the due diligence necessary to give a contractor, subcontractor, architect or supplier lien holder an enforceable lien. Since 1989, I have been properly preparing, perfecting and enforcing mechanic’s liens. In addition, I also represent property owners and general contractors seeking to dissolve improper liens.

During a recent construction dispute, a disgruntled subcontractor of a large national general contractor files a mechanic’s lien on a property. The property is leased by a major corporate tenant and is a major source of business for the general contractor. Maintaining their good business relationship with the tenant is paramount to the general contractor. So the general contractor’s in-house counsel calls on me to dissolve the lien.

Upon reviewing the client’s papers, as well as the lien documents that the subcontractor had recorded with the Registry of Deeds, I discover several glaring errors with the lien. In particular, although the subcontractor had timely filed suit, it failed to record the required attested-to copy of the filed complaint at the Registry of Deeds.

I immediately file a motion to dissolve the lien. At the hearing, as a result of my persuasive legal arguments honed from over 30 years of experience, the subcontractor concedes defeat and the court dissolves the lien. As a direct result of my immediate and successful dissolution of the mechanic’s lien, my client kept its good business relationship with its national customer.

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