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What should I know about mechanic’s liens as a subcontractor?

On Behalf of | Mar 10, 2022 | Mechanic's Liens

As a subcontractor on building projects, you may be familiar with the concept of a mechanic’s lien, but do you know the best way to use one to protect your interests? At the NAPNAME, our experienced commercial collection attorneys often help subcontractors, general contractors and various suppliers to file and pursue proper mechanic’s liens on their projects. The main concern is to do it correctly and to do it as soon as possible.

What does a mechanic’s lien do for you?

A mechanic’s lien is a lien on the physical property you are working on. It gives you an interest in the property equal to the value of your work. Massachusetts law requires you to give notice to the homeowner, as well as the general contractor, once you file your lien. You record the lien with the proper registry.

In order to file a mechanic’s lien, you must either have a written contract for work with the property owner or with someone who has a contract with the property owner, such as the general contractor. You also must be providing some sort of improvement to the property through materials or services. If the owner does not pay for your work, the lien allows you to pursue payment through a judicial foreclosure.

Filing as soon as possible is best

Under the law, you may file your lien:

  • Any time prior to 60 days after substantial completion, or
  • Any time prior to 90 days after you last performed services on the project

Unfortunately, the process is not as simple as it sounds. You should always file your lien as soon as you begin work on the project. Although the law states you have 90 days, the courts have found that the timing could be shorter than that.

The general contractor can put your work at risk by abandoning the project or being fired by the property owners. If either of these things happens, you may not pursue a mechanic’s lien, even if you are within your 90 days. You can protect your business by filing early.

We can help you protect your work

At the Law Offices of Alan M. Cohen & Associates LLC, we have nearly 50 years of combined collection experience, working with companies of all types throughout the building trades. You work hard for your money, and you deserve the compensation you have earned. We are ready to help you protect your work by correctly and quickly filing your mechanic’s lien. Please call 508-763-6604 or reach out to us using our online form to schedule an appointment.