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Alan Cohen

Massachusetts Mechanic’s Liens

What is a Mechanic’s Lien?

A mechanic’s lien provides payment assurance for those who have provided labor and/or materials to improve an existing or new building or structure.

It is also known as a construction lien, a material man’s lien, or a supplier’s lien when pursued by those supplying materials. It may also be described as a design professional’s lien for architects or designers providing plans and designs for improvement, or it may be called a laborer’s lien when filed by those who provided labor and did not get paid.

Massachusetts courts require strict compliance with the procedural rules governing the creation and ongoing enforcement of a mechanic’s lien as set forth by M.G.L. c. 254. This type of lien is a statutorily created lien against real property secured by contractors and/or individuals providing services and/or materials for the improvement of real estate.  A mechanic’s lien allows individuals working on new construction or real property improvement to get paid for their work and their expenses, but case law specifically excludes interest and attorney fees.

Type of Lien

Unlike a mortgage, a mechanic’s lien is an involuntary lien that does not require court approval before it is perfected. It does, however, require strict adherence to procedural rules for it to be valid and collectible. It also requires that the party seeking the lien has a written contract that is enforceable under the laws of the Commonwealth.

Use of a Mechanic’s Lien

A mechanic’s lien is a powerful, effective tool for creditors because it allows a creditor to cloud the title of real property ensuring that the property cannot be sold without paying the suppliers or contractors for work, material, and/or services provided.

Who Can Obtain a Mechanic’s Lien in Massachusetts

In Massachusetts, this law has been in existence since the 1800’s. It was substantially rewritten in 1997, however, granting statutory rights to:

  1. Those involved in the erection, alteration, repair, or removal of a building, structure, or another improvement to real property.
  2. Those providing material or rental equipment, appliances, or equipment; and
  3. Those providing construction management and general contractor services.

The broad changes now allow a mechanic’s lien, to be requested by anyone providing improvements to real property.  In theory, this would also include general contractors, subcontractors and sub-subcontractors, machine rental companies, materials suppliers, lumber companies, demolition contractors, plumbing suppliers, electrical suppliers, drywall suppliers, landscapers, utility contractors, site excavators, painters, civil engineers and architects, and construction project managers.

In Summary

While the mechanic’s lien statute provides a powerful tool with which to collect payment for improving real estate, it must comply with strict Massachusetts statute requirements.

We are here to help you. We have over twenty years of experience with the strict requirements involved when filing a mechanic’s lien. We can successfully collect.  Call us today at 508-620-6900 or email us at

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