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Alan Cohen

Knowing the Details of a Mechanic’s Lien is Crucial for Debt Recovery

If you are a contractor, subcontractor, or supplier of materials for construction jobs, you deserve proper compensation for your labor and/or materials. However, it is not uncommon for the owner of the property or the general contractor to drag their feet with the payment that you are entitled to. While some might choose to be patient when awaiting payment or turn to phone calls to reach out, these tactics may not be in your best interest.

The mechanic’s lien attorneys at the Law Offices of Alan M. Cohen LLC have over 35 years of e experience in preparing, recording, litigating and collecting on mechanic’s liens in Massachusetts. A mechanic’s lien is an incredibly effective tool that we use to get you results, and right now, they are more effective and prominent as ever. During the current pandemic, mechanic’s liens are reported to be up by as much as 40% nationally, with numbers set to increase even further according to Levelset.

How A Mechanic’s Lien Works

In order to have a mechanic’s lien filed in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, you must have a written contract relating to the services rendered on and/or the materials delivered to the property in question. All you need for this is an offer and acceptance in writing. There doesn’t have to be one paper that is signed by all parties. A written contract is any written contract enforceable under Massachusetts law. We recommend a “notice of contract contract” to provide that single contract document to avoid giving a judge discretion to decide what does or does not constitute a written contract.

You will also need a property-specific notice of contact as a way of putting the world — and your debtor — on notice that you’re working on this contract which the Law Offices of Alan M. Cohen LLC can put together for you. It is important when you have not contracted with the owner that you put the owner on notice of the existence of your lien. If the owner makes payment to the general contractor before they know of your lien, you may not be able to recover.  Once this and a statement of account are recorded with proper deed referencing, your next step is filing suit. Our mechanic’s lien attorney has over three decades of experience working with the complex and unforgiving  Massachusetts mechanic’s lien statute.

Once the lien has been recorded, the property owner is unable to sell any real estate or perform any further construction projects until you either receive your payment in full, they file a bond, or they are successful in persuading a court to dissolve the mechanic’s lien. It is a powerful tool that the Law Offices of Alan M. Cohen LLC routinely uses to get our clients paid.

What is My Timeline For Filing a Mechanic’s Lien?

If you do not comply with the strict timelines, your mechanic’s lien becomes, in many cases, void as a matter of law and can be dissolved. You have 90 days from providing any work or materials to the property in question to record your lien (or from when someone working for the general contractor provided work under Massachusetts c. 254 section 4), and the statement of contract must be complete within 120 days of completing any work. You then have an additional 90 days to file suit, and then 30 days from filing to record a certified copy of the complaint. This aggressive yet ethical method of debt collection is one that the Law Offices of Alan M. Cohen LLC uses frequently and effectively in the fight to help you recover outstanding accounts receivables for services rendered.

Avoiding Mistakes is Critical

The process of filing a mechanic’s lien involves a strict timeline and adherence to the proper steps, something which the collections attorneys at the Law Offices of Alan M. Cohen LLC have mastered. However, there are a few details that can derail your entire process if gone unaddressed:

  • Meet every deadline: The Commonwealth of Massachusetts has a very strict and limited window of time in which you have to meet the deadlines for each step. Failure to meet such a deadline may result in your mechanic’s lien failing.
  • Keep accurate records: While you don’t need 100% accuracy, the amount has to be right. The notice of contract needs to point the registry to the precise property you are putting the lien on. 
  • Give proper notices: The Law Offices of Alan M. Cohen LLC  can prepare and record the notice of contract and statement of account — essential documents necessary to perfect your mechanic’s lien.

Don’t Delay and Act Now!

Our experienced mechanic’s lien attorneys at the Law Offices of Alan M. Cohen LLC will fight for you every step of the way until you get paid, or no one else can get you paid. Call 508-620-6900 or email to find out more about how we can help you with mechanic’s liens to enhance the possibility of debt recovery.

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