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Alan Cohen

Massachusetts Mechanic’s Liens Can Get You Paid

If you are unlucky enough to have done business with ‘Rolling-in-Dough-but-Hardly-Ever-Pay-Construction-Company or Owner’ you’ll soon find out the importance of a Mechanic liens in Massachusetts. It is not unheard of for corporations such as the one mentioned above to engage in various unfair tactics to weasel out of a deal with a general contractor, supplier or sub-contractor after they have furnished the labor, materials or equipment for the construction, or performed all conditions precedent required of it.

Mechanic’s Lien: Defined

Like most states in the US, Massachusetts allows material suppliers, laborers and contractors to file a mechanic’s lien against an owner’s equity interest in real property – land– for work or materials provided. In short, a mechanic’s lien is a statutory creation that’s governed by extremely extensive provisions that are given in Chapter 254 of the General Laws that are used to govern in Massachusetts.

Under law the rights of the lienor can comes ahead of the rights of some existing mortgages on the liened property. The mere presence of a mechanic’s lien on any real property for a period of thirty days of longer may be  considered to be a breach of almost any financing agreements for the owner. Hence, a mechanic’s lien can prove to be useful when it comes to getting quick results against a debt that is owed. Besides that, the existence of a mechanic’s lien can also lead towards the establishment of alternative forms of a payment guaranty. For example, an escrow arrangement or lien bonds, both of which can be used along with a mechanic’s lien to provide better security to the person who is filing for the mechanic’s lien.

Once a mechanic’s lien has been properly recorded it essentially works like a mortgage on the subject property. This means a mechanic’s lien when properly perfected and enforced could provide a contractor or a supplier with the ability to foreclose in order to collect the amount that they are due. More importantly, having a mechanic’s lien makes it extremely difficult for the owner of a construction project to be able to borrow any money until and unless the mechanic’s lien has been fully satisfied.

It should be noted that a mechanic’s lien can only be asserted on a resident or commercial project and not on public construction. This means that any general contractor or supplier who has furnished materials or labor for a private construction project is, under law, able to record a mechanic’s lien.

What is Needed?

The party that is asserting the mechanic’s lien needs to have a written contract in connection to the materials or labor that has been furnished, to said private, construction project. A written contract in Massachusetts is any series of writings that would constitute a contract under Massachusetts law. The lien must include the monetary amount that’s due to the contractor or supplier on the date that the lien was recorded.

Initiating a Mechanic’s Lien

In order to initiate a mechanic’s lien a contractor or supplier needs to have the following;

  • Needs to have a written contract that’s in connection with the project work.
  • Needs to record a Notice of Contract at the applicable Registry of Deeds within 90 days of last furnishing labor or materials to the project. It should also be noted here that the deadline to record the Notice of Contract or Statement of Account can be accelerated if either the Notice of Substantial Completion or the Notice of Termination has been properly recorded.
  • Needs to record the Statement of Account within 120 days of last furnishing labor or materials to the project.

And that’s not all, apart from carry out the following tasks to the “T”, a collections and construction attorney will have to the follow specific steps and guidelines in order to perfect the lien so that it can be enforced during any court proceeding, including state court litigation. This is another reason why you are going to need the expertise and experience of a collections and construction attorney to guide and advise you every step of the way to increase your chances of getting paid.

The Key to Success is Timing

Contractors who are looking to get a mechanic’s lien must follow the process outlined under M.G.L. c. 254, § 2, while contractors and suppliers  who do not have a direct contract with the contractor will have to follow the process given in M.G.L. c. 254, § 4. Contractors need to be weary of the time constraints when it comes to a mechanic’s lien. The slightest delay can result in losing your hard-earned money, which is why you are going to need the expertise of a collections and construction attorney who will be aggressive and make sure that the mechanic’s lien has been filed appropriately and according to the law in Massachusetts.

Once you have been able to secure the mechanic’s lien, the next goal is to get paid for your labor or material that was provided to the construction site. While a lien is enough to get a person paid, sometimes it is not enough, in which case, a collections attorney will turn to litigation in the district or superior court in which the property is located to try to get you paid. To do that, the Law Offices of Alan M. Cohen LLC will work to establish before the court that all the filing and records were satisfied under the mechanic’s lien law of Massachusetts, and that the client (that’s you) is indeed due monies from the owner of the construction project for services, materials or labor that has been furnished for the completion of a private or commercial construction project.

When it comes to the filing of a mechanic’s lien, the Law Offices of Alan M. Cohen LLC has substantial experience and is very familiar regarding the laws surrounding mechanic’s lien in the state of Massachusetts. If you want to file for a mechanic’s lien, there’s no need to take any chances. What you need is an aggressive and proactive attorney with experience in debt collections and Massachusetts mechanic’s liens. If you don’t want to keep running around in circles, get in touch with the Law Offices of Alan M. Cohen LLC today at (508) 620-6900 or email us at acohen@collections-law.com.

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