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Worth Liening: How to File a Massachusetts Mechanic’s Lien the Right Way

Before we can get into the risks of not filing a mechanic’s lien, it’s important to take a step back and find out why you are contemplating a mechanics lien. It’s a good chance that you are probably thinking about getting a mechanic’s lien because you’re worried that you might not get paid some or all of the money you’ve earned. While the details of this situation will vary from project to project and person to person, there are a few key points to keep in mind that are shared by all those who start to think about filing a mechanics lien.

Important Questions to Ask Yourself?

The following are some of the questions you need to ask yourself when contemplating a mechanics lien:

  • How did it get to the point where you need a mechanic’s lien?
  • What’s the amount of money involved in this situation?
  • What’s going to happen to your company if you don’t get any of your money back?
  • Who’s the customer and how well do you know them? 
  • Does the customer have the resources to pay you?

There are many company owners in the construction business that prefer not to file a mechanic’s lien, thinking that it might damage the reputation of their business or that it might have a negative impact on their business relationships. To those business owners who are having these thoughts, think about it this way, if you are going through a non-payment situation that’s bad enough to put you out of business, you won’t need to worry about your reputation because there will be no business left to worry about.

In short, before worrying about the risks of filing the mechanics lien, it’s important to first consider the very real risks of not filing a mechanics lien, which may be the difference between getting paid and not getting paid. If that’s the difference then the answer is a no-brainer for any business owner who wants to make sure they get their payments so that they can keep their business afloat, that is, if you’re allowed to file a mechanics lien in the state you live in.

Follow the Procedure

Just like with any other business process, you need to follow are few very specific rules before you can file a mechanics lien.   There are notices to be recorded at the registry of deeds and sent to both the property owner and the prime contractor of the construction project, which is something that will easily grab everybody’s attention and could lead to you getting paid, but, all too often, that’s sadly not the case.

It’s More Complicated than Filing a Document

If you are worried that you might not get paid on a project, it can be a tough situation to come to terms with, even if the viability of your business does not depend on it. But, if it’s gotten to the point where you are forced to a reactive posture, it’s time to hire an experienced mechanic’s lien attorney who is qualified to carry out the process for you. Filing a mechanics lien is just one step in a multi-step process. Depending on whether you are a sub-subcontractor or supplier, the initial step may be a Notice of Identification. If you are a subcontractor, supplier (dealing directly with the general contractor) or general contractor, your first step may be filing a Notice of Contract.

A Notice of Identification may contain the contractor’s name, the property owner’s name, the name of the party sending the notice, whether the claimant is a sub-subcontractor, design professional or vendor, the name of the person contracted and the name of the person or party furnished, along with the property address where the work was performed and the amount of the contract. The Notice of Identification should always be sent via certified mail, and return receipt requested, to the original contractor and owner within thirty days of starting performance. This is where most people usually make a mistake, which lessens their chances of getting paid in full. However, hiring an experienced Massachusetts lawyer who focuses on Massachusetts Mechanic’s liens can help you get your money back without the hassle.

The main reason for this is that none of your customers would want to risk not paying you after they have received a Notice of Identification, mainly because this will let them know that you have already taken an important action to begin securing your lien rights and that you mean business when it comes to getting your payment. A mechanic’s lien increases the chances of getting paid by someone who owes you. Having a good collections attorney experienced in construction litigation who’s by your side throughout the entire process of getting a mechanics lien will put you in a better position of getting your payments on time.

Having experienced Massachusetts mechanic’s liens attorneys, such as, Law Offices of Alan M. Cohen LLC, by your side helps ensure that the process is handled appropriately, and increases the chances of you getting paid.

To find out more on how Alan M. Cohen at the Law Offices of Alan M. Cohen LLC can help, please feel free to visit us at, or contact us at 508-620 6900. You can also email us at

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